Concepts Every Producer and Client Should Understand 

We call it Corporate Film School because, after a couple of decades of producing videos for top companies, and coming from a film school and broadcast background, we’ve realized that the basic (and fascinating) elements of film language not only help you make better videos but enhance the collaboration with your creative partners. 

#1. Film Language  

To figure out how a video or film is working (or, crucially, not working), it’s essential that you understand that film is a kind of language with its own particular grammar based on the placement and/or movement of the camera, editing and other production elements.  Being able to “read” a scene enables you to tap the hidden power of film/video. 

#2. Production Values

What makes a video feel like “a million bucks”?  Paying attention to the details on set – the look, sound and movement – can make your project feel more professional and cinematic.  

#3. Setting

Six words: Get Out of the Conference Room. The conference room is a tomb.   Think outside that airless, static, soul-crushing box and let your location(s) help add dimension and depth to your story. 

#4. Eyelines

Turns out, this often-overlooked element of film language – where your subject is looking vis a vis the camera – is crucial in delivering powerful and effective communication.  We look at the meaning of the various types of eyelines and how so many producers screw them up. 

#5. B-roll

This essential dark matter of the video universe makes up more than 60% (don’t ask us for the data) of corporate video content and yet is very rarely examined.  And what we find, especially when it comes to stock photos, will make you (but who will hear you?) scream.    

#6. Voice Over

The traditional “Voice of God” narration is falling out of fashion but when used (and cast) thoughtfully, VO narration can add personality, authority and even diversity to your story.  

#7. Authenticity

A rare instance where a trending buzzword is actually worth paying attention to.  It’s not easy but we offer some ideas for helping your corporate “talent” present more genuinely on camera. We’ve found that viewers connect with content in direct relation to how “authentic” they perceive the presentation. 

#8. Editing

About a hundred years ago, a Russian filmmaker proved that film editing is actually a kind of magic.  Mysterious, technical, arcane and incredibly important, the juxtaposition of images actually creates emotion and shortcuts meaning.  You won’t (and shouldn’t) believe your eyes. 

#9. Graphics

What happens when text and print layout meet motion pictures?  Flying text, animated graphics and the mysterious Z axis all combine to make these crucial, aesthetic choices in post-production exciting, challenging and essential for producing high-quality videos. 

#10. Talking Heads

The 1970’s New Wave band named their group after the term used for boring head & shoulders framing of TV presenters. We use the Talking Heads to talk about making your talking heads less like psychokillers.