corporate video san francisco

Mar '16 | Turn an Interview into a Compelling Corporate Video

Inspired by political strategist Mark McKinnon’s NY Times video that shared storytelling methods used in today’s presidential campaigns, this month’s blog series will highlight best practices and tips when filming non-actors, and how to get the most out of the non-scripted stuff that often gets said.

If you’re a marketer embarking on an executive or customer testimonial, or trying to mold live event footage into a compelling corporate video narrative, this blog series is for you.

Using examples from past corporate video productions, as well drawing insight from my San Francisco video team, we’ll provide tips during each phase of production in a 5-part Video Series.

  1. Part One | Discovery: Five things to do before you even start ideation to ensure your video doesn’t get derailed during the production process.
  1. Part Two | Scripting: You don’t get the luxury of scripting when dealing with interviews, but there are tricks to taking the impromptu out of the process.
  1. Part Three | Pre Production: How to make an interview subject feel special and taken care of, (which will ultimately help you capture those sound bites you need.)
  1. Part Four | Production: The type of camera equipment and angle you choose can say a lot about your story. A look into the different options so you can decide which method is best for your video.
  1. Part Five | Post Production: Performances never turn out the way you envision them in your head. Here are a few tips on how to create a compelling narrative, even when your interview footage proves otherwise.

lens longer corporate video

Part One

Before Ideation, Get Back to Basics


I recently had a prospective video client ask me: “You’ve been described as someone with the ability to weave sound bites into compelling narratives, how exactly do you do that?”

Truth is, there’s no roadmap that magically yields results. But there are some best practices I’ve learned along the way.

Define A Common Language


People often start with something like, “I want a video that’s smart, yet edgy.”

Great start, but let’s first define what smart and edgy look like to you.

With every new corporate video client, I like to kick start the first creative strategy session by dissecting three video inspiration pieces, frame by frame, so that a common jargon and language can be formed around our process. That way, when they later tell me in postproduction that they need more “edge” in the third act, I know exactly how to deliver.

Similarly, it’s a great practice to watch and discuss video samples that aren’t what you’re looking to create. And I’m not talking bad quality videos, rather great videos­– but videos that wouldn’t be a proper representation of your company or its culture.­

Look at Your Interview Subject As Your Audience Would


I recently went through a great re-branding process that had me getting very specific about my core audience.

  • What information really lights them up or gets them excited?
  • What qualities naturally come out when no one is watching?
  • What words or speech patterns do they use and tend to respond to?

Now, because it’s been proven that we respond better to people who are similar in the way they look, sound, and view the world, it’s important to consider this factor when choosing interview subjects.

Or if you’re aimed at man-on-the-street style customer soundbites, it’s important to let your video team know what type of customer profile they should target for participation.

Know Your Internal Stakeholders


Take the time to understand–(and share with your video producer)–who in your organization needs to be wowed by the video product you’re about to create. Even if they’re not directly involved in making the video, I suggest finding a way to properly disseminate information and get their buy-in throughout the production process. That way, at the end, you won’t discover that, say, your definition of edgy is very different than your boss’s version.

Define Goals for Your Corporate Video


Because it’s my job, as a corporate video producer, to make clients look good in front of their audience or boss, I make sure clients set goals for each video. That way, I can help them reach those goals.

Goals for video projects could be:

  • I want to capture 10 solid sound bites from a diverse group of customers whose profiles include…
  • I want the video to speak to my current customers yet also intrigue the larger accounts I’m targeting this year, such as…
  • I want the video to not only bring in next year’s attendees, but also bring in event sponsors such as…

Sorry folks, but “I want to create a viral video” is not a tangible goal. If it was, I’d be a very busy lady! But if there are realistic metrics that you can attach to your video’s goals’, that’s great!

Setting Video Driven Metrics 


There are companies who sell software to help analyze video performance, such as Vidyard, but even without their help, I always urge corporate clients to set metrics around their video whenever possible.

Metric driven video goals could be:

  • I want this executive interview to experience X amount of views, shares, or likes
  • I want this customer testimonial to help convert X amount of deals
  • I want this social media video to increase my following by X percent
  • I want this About Us video to increase the duration of time customers are spending on my website, from X to X

And then of course, get other people invested in your metrics, and once achieved, make sure you share your success!

Alright, stay tuned. In next week’s blog we explore Part Two: The Art of Scripting Great Interview Questions. You don’t get the luxury of scripting when dealing with interviews, but there are tricks to taking the impromptu out of the process.

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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.