Documenting Innovation: Filming Raytheon BBN Technologies’ Pioneering Research

Filming at Raytheon BBN Technologies: A Documentary-Style Shoot

Video Production

SVG was hired by a company in Washington, D.C., to film a documentary-style video of Raytheon BBN Technology employees.

We were asked to shoot at one of their headquarters in Cambridge, MA, where we interviewed five employees about their industry-leading research, applications based on quantum phenomena, academic atmosphere with industrial resources, and their collaborations with other leading researchers.

Capturing the Interviews

Our primary task was to conduct interviews with five of Raytheon BBN’s esteemed employees.

Each interview delved into the unique and pioneering work being done at BBN. The subjects discussed their research in quantum phenomena, the synergy between academic and industrial resources, and their collaborations with top-tier researchers.

Filming at BBN headquarters provided visually effective shots for both the interviews and B-roll, transforming the shoot into a learning experience for our crew.

Visual Storytelling with B-Roll

In addition to the interviews, we were tasked with capturing B-roll shots of the BBN grounds and lab rooms.

The campus offered a wealth of visual opportunities, sometimes so abundant that we had to cut shooting B-roll short to move to another area.

Our goal was to ensure that each interview subject was positioned with a different background and facing the opposite side from the previous interviewee, creating visual variety and maintaining the documentary style.

Getting the shot was difficult at times, but finding areas that provided a deep shot for the background of the interviews was no challenge.

The BBN “campus” had so much to offer visually for our videographer. For each interview, we selected a different lab to provide varied and intriguing backgrounds.

We had to constantly adjust the white balance from room to room due to the slightly different lighting in each area. In some cases, we found ourselves in tight quarters, which required creative problem-solving to get the perfect shot.

Adapting to the Environment

Working in a fully operating lab presents unique challenges, especially when surrounded by small lasers, devices that beep, and flashy buttons.

Our crew was particularly impressed by the research and advancements taking place at BBN, but our main focus was to shoot interviews without ambient noise interference.

We mitigated noise issues by moving the interviewees closer to the camera and asking employees to turn off some of the louder equipment. Additionally, we recorded room tone for post-production to help editors adjust and eliminate background noise.

Video production
Body facing left and head facing right

Techniques for Documentary-Style Filming

In documentary-style filming, positioning the interview subjects correctly is crucial.

The interviewee should never look directly into the camera but should instead focus on the interviewer sitting to the side of the camera. This approach creates a more natural and engaging interview experience.

Video production
Body facing the right and head facing left

For instance, if one person is shot with their body facing right and their head looking left, the next interviewee must be shot with their body facing left and their head looking right. This alternating pattern maintains visual interest and coherence.

Enhancing the Visual Appeal

Though the subjects and their interview answers are the most important part of the video, providing visual evidence of the employees’ work enhances the video’s appeal.

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We focused on capturing shots that showcased the impressive equipment and work being done at BBN. For example, we had one interviewee stand instead of sitting to better display the equipment behind him.

This creative decision, while breaking traditional documentary rules, added depth and context to the video.

The Importance of Post-Production

After completing the shoot, we overnighted the raw video back to Washington, D.C., for post-production.

The editors used the room tone recordings to identify and eliminate background noises, ensuring a clean final product.

The footage we captured will be used for the American Physical Society TV and viewed during their annual conferences, showcasing the cutting-edge work at Raytheon BBN Technologies.

A Rewarding Experience

Video production

Overall, shooting at Raytheon BBN Technologies provided our crew with a tremendous amount of images for B-roll and intriguing backgrounds.

The employees were excited to have our video crew there and were more than willing to show us around their labs, teaching us about protons, lasers, and quantum phenomena.

We loved every aspect of working at Raytheon and left with a deeper appreciation for the groundbreaking research being conducted there.