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Feb '18 | Traveling for a Testimonial

It doesn’t always have to be expensive.

Customer testimonial videos are a powerful sales tool, but they can also be expensive. Especially when your customer isn’t local. When Silicon Valley-based VDI company Workspot made a huge impact with one of their customers, Houston Eye Associates, here’s how we traveled a crew out to Texas without blowing up the budget. 

What’s Needed

  • One producer / director
  • One steadicam operator / camera operator
  • One camera assistant
  • Production assistant
  • Two cameras
  • Steadicam rig
  • Small interview light kit
  • Audio

Let’s Talk Logistics

  • Bring your producer in a day early
  • Interview first, film the b-roll second
  • The pros & cons of hiring locally

Scout the Location First

A quick note: If at all possible, we try to schedule two days to film a testimonial. One day to do all the interviews, and another day to capture the imagery. But when the budget is tight– as it was for this Workspot testimonial– then we can get away with one day of filming. That said, it’s important that you still bring in the producer to do a location scout the day prior. During the scout, the producer can talk to your customers about their soundbites, the questions, and the flow of the day. They can choose the most appropriate locations that look good on camera. They can scout the load in and out specifics. They can make sure everyone feels at ease. In summary, they’ll do everything needed to assure you get the most out of your one filming day.

A Scheduling Tip

Because we’re dealing with real-people and real conversations, not actors with scripts, it’s helpful to start the day by capturing the interview. That way you can take notes during the interview and determine what imagery is needed in order to tell the story. For example, in the case of this Workspot testimonial it became apparent that we needed to show the “old” world before we could show the “new” world. This meant filming the old on-prem VDI stacks. Without that image, his soundbite wouldn’t have been so powerful. 

To Hire Local, or Travel Your Crew

If you’re filming in a major city such as New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, or London, then chances are you can find skilled technicians and quality gear houses. But if not, we suggest traveling with a skeleton crew and cameras. Especially if you’re trying to film everything within one day. You don’t have the luxury of time to troubleshoot gear, or get anyone on the same page. But here’s a pro tip if you do choose to hire locally: Having a camera operator who is used to larger commercial shoots, or filming a television show, isn’t always beneficial because it means they’re used to more time, space, and help, in order to accomplish the shot. Hiring someone who is used to filming live events is a better fit because they’ll understand the need to be quick and flexible.


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K'Dee Miller is the Founder & Creative Director of Patina Pictures.

Her feature films have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, AFI Fest, Newport Beach Film Festival, among others. Her corporate video clients span from technology companies such as Microsoft, RingCentral, DocuSign and Adobe, to Bay Area nonprofits such as Team4Tech and Hamilton Families.

She's studied her industry from every angle, receiving production training from The Juilliard School, an MFA of Writing from University of San Francisco, and a BFA of Acting from Marymount Manhattan College.

She is currently in the process of writing a memoir about growing up in the wilderness of Alaska.