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Remote collaboration is a trend that has been widely observed due to the onset of COVID-19. Even before that, it is hardly ever possible that your entire team is present in one close vicinity.
It presents a special challenge for those in the video production industry. How do you communicate effectively and have your team perform efficiently?
They could be commercials, explainer videos, internal communication videos, testimonials, tutorials or demos, nothing can stop you from churning out the best content in remote collaborations too.
It may not be as glamorous as a live video shoot but efficient communication can work in your favor well enough to make a product just as good and overcome virtual team challenges.
More often than not, it is about the correct delegation and collaborative task management. Set up as many video calls as you need to direct the talent and to manage the team.
MotionCue has done quite a few remote video production projects. We might have a pointer or two about remote collaborative project management.
Producing videos remotely without live shooting
It is not crucial that you always have to produce a live video. Other methods of video production may prove to be easier to execute.
Often times, using stock footage is much more convenient in video remote collaborations video projects. You can find stock footage for almost any topic online.
You can make a video completely out of stock footage or use stock footage to fill the gaps in your live recording.
You can also get ones with sound effects and background music options. Whatever suits you the best according to your project requirements.
It is a better idea to go for a website that allows unlimited downloads rather than a pay-per license option. It allows you much more creative liberty.
Videohive is a favorite with our team and is a great place to get footage in the form of ready-made templates.
Remember that you need to be consistent in your visuals. It is very easy for your footage to look like it is all over the place with stock footage that does not sit right when joined together.
They should fit well together and not affect the look and the feel of the footage. Don’t let your viewers be distracted by uneven footage.
You can use the existing footage that you have made in the past. However, be careful that you are not repeating anything that you have already used before.
You may also have some footage lying around that has not worked in the past and you had to discard it. Using them as the B-roll of a new video may be a very good way to repurpose them.
There is an entire assortment of online collaboration tools that you can choose from to assist you from design, illustration to animation, and video editing.
However, sometimes project calls for a live video shoot. In the age where almost every communication gadget comes with a webcam, it is very easy to do a remote collaboration shoot.
Video production in remote collaborations
Collaborative task management is all about relentless resourcefulness and planning. There is a range of resources that you need from equipment to software for remote video production.
However, there is no need to break the bank for any of that. You can get completely affordable stuff that can help you with the remote collaboration of your entire video production team.
TD Bank had a very popular commercial pre-quarantine in which the employee of the bank was trotting about in an empty branch.
During the lockdown, that same employee remade the video but at his home. This campaign was aimed to promote online banking
This video was produced remotely. It has gained popularity and is being aired on TV and online.
The part where you are trying to get your break with an idea is a very important one from a creative aspect.
You can look for inspiration ideas on online sources of popular brands, podcasts, and TED Talks and create a whole slack channel where people can share their idea for the shoot.
Make the entire team have eyes on what the feel you are going after by sharing the popular content with them and to document it.
This material helps everyone get on the same page about the rough mockup of the video.
You will need certain tools to get a handle on the planning, strategizing, and communication. Some of the things that you should have at your hands for smooth flowing conversation are:
- Google Hangouts
Ensure that every related person is informed about every single step on the way. From brainstorming till editing, map all of your steps out.
Collaborative task management in the pre-planning stage needs to be done optimally. Here are some of the tools that you may already have.
- Shared Calendars
You must also have a platform to be able to share reference media like photos and videos. Pinterest, Slack, or Google Drive are great for photos. SproutVideo is a good idea for video sharing.
Make sure that you are mindful of the time difference for all the different members of your team in remote collaboration. Make sure that everyone is allowed enough time to keep up with the developments.
You may also need professional marketing tools distributing and marketing your video for it to perform optimally.
It is a good idea to assign specific roles and being clear about them in order to avoid confusion during the execution.
Be as open and detailed about the video-making process and, this is important, document everything. If you have one to spare, assign personnel for this purpose alone.
It may sound like something very obsessive, but trust me later you and your entire team are going to be very grateful that these detailed notes were there when they were.
Not only that they remove confusion along the way, they also are evidence and paper trails for every action.
This is what ensures that the least amount of detail is lost in translation and the vision is being communicated properly.
Some video shoots work out without a script. Not remote ones. Not even by a long shot. Remote video production requires a substantial amount of forethought and very meticulous planning.
It is popularly believed that scripting is a one-person job, however, it is a very collaborative activity with input flowing in from all sides.
You will also need a solid and well-formatted script to avoid any and all kinds of confusion. Below are some of the popular ones.
- Adobe Final Draft (Writer’s Duet)
- Google Docs
Initially, only one person develops the first draft of the script. Then they can upload their copy to one of the above-mentioned collaborative software for the entire team to react to.
The reason for this is that to be able to have your video production team work effectively, they must like the script.
Don’t forget the time difference aspect.
A storyboard is essentially what breathes life into your script. It is the insurance of your script being executed properly and seamlessly.
It is the shot-by-shot visual representation of the script. It will not only help in the recording process, but it also comes in really handy during the editing process.
It constitutes the frames, vital elements of the scene, and the camera angles. There are reference points clearly laid out in a good storyboard.
It streamlines the standpoint of all the members of the team about how the execution is going to play out.
When you have a clear understanding of your final video and what you want it to look like, you will need the locations you want to shoot in.
The easy way to go about it sharing the location photos in the Slack channel meant for design purposes. You can add pictures of examples of what you want your set to potentially look like.
Remember your most preferred choices on the top of the channels. You could also make a private board on Pinterest.
Some people also like making videos of all their potential locations. You can do that and use a SproutVideo folder in it.
Actors in the video can make or break the whole deal. I believe that meeting and actor is very important prior to deciding on them.
However, if you are shooting remotely, you can always hold video call auditions and meetings with your potential talent and look at the reels to give a moment of thought.
It can also come in handy for members of the team that are not part of the video call but could have input.
You can use just about any video-calling tool for this purpose.
Equipment and set up
You will need (and probably have) the basics: lights, camera, and a mic. Which ones you get really just depends on the scale of your project.
However, if you are using a smartphone to shoot your remote collaboration video project, you may need a different set off equipment entirely.
If you are using a proper camera, make sure that you are using one with an HDMI output. It is ideal if your camera is able to show both video and audio on the camera LCD and also on the HDMI output screen.
Most modern video cameras and DSLRs are designed this way.
An HDMI-to-USB converter/adapter can make directing a live video shoot remotely a lot easier. That coupled with a wire loop to connect to the computer monitor and a preferred choice for a video conferencing app can do wonders for you.
In this way, the live footage from a video camera can be broadcasted on any screen anywhere in the world.
You can use this set up to get collective feedback about the set and action from multiple people like you would be able to do on the spot.
Your HDMI adapter makes the video being transmitted to your computer as something shot on that computer’s webcam and is able to be shared via any video conference call app to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Zoom, Skype, Google, Hangouts, FaceTime, and Appear.in are usually popular choices.
Here are some of the tried and tested HDMI-to-USB adapters.
Strategically speaking, it is a very good idea to broadcast your video and involve the entire production team in the process to get an idea about important stuff.
It is because they could have valuable input about a lot of things including framing, on-screen action, avoiding shot-blocking, set design, and lighting.
More eyes on the shoot mean a lot of complications getting out of the way. What one person misses, the other person has a chance of catching.
Keep the video conference call going for an entire day of the shoot if you have to. It gets the work done a lot more seamlessly.
Unfortunately, during a remote collaboration, it may not be possible for your entire team to be present on set during the recording process.
You can set up check-in times with your camera crew to be able to see how the shoot is going. Assign personnel for it is possible. They can connect you and brief you about what is happening after decided intervals.
Planning these intervals can prove to be very fruitful because they can help you resist the urge to constantly stay in the loop and unnecessarily bothering the crew.
Still, shots from the shoot can also help you in forming clear feedback about what you like and what you don’t like.
Don’t think that if the shoot has ended, your work has been done. There is a lot more that you still need to oversee to be able to get a good product.
It is imperative that the editor shares the footage before they have color graded and processed the audio.
The director will have a very crucial input. SproutVideo can prove to be your very good friend here.
You can enable the protective setting allowing only a limited number of people to watch the video. In this way, you can also keep your footage secure saving it from theft.
Instead of making the whole thing very confusing by sending various links to the clip, the editor can use the replace option.
SproutVideo also has the option of viewing the engagements. You can know that who has been watching the entire clip and who has been slacking off.
You can also connect your SproutVideo account to Slack. A notification will be sent out to all the members of that channel whenever the video link is updated.
No one will miss out on different cuts of the video that need feedback this way.
Wistia has outdone itself in remote collaboration. See for yourself.
Some remote collaboration video project tips
There are some things one must always bear in mind to be able to perform optimally n a remote collaboration project.
- Consider the given scale, timeline, and process. Take a good long moment to reflect if you can pull it off remotely or would you want to give it time till you can have your entire team together.
- Never overlook the importance of planning. There is no such thing as over-planning in a video project being executed in remote collaboration.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of a video call. They are imperative in picking up the non-verbal cues and things that you are probably missing about your team’s concerns.
- Pay close attention to staging and give importance to lighting early on during the shoot. Add some objects that give your shot a nice bouquet.
- Don’t shy away from requesting test-shots. It could help with making the very crucial adjustments that you needed. Like removing anything that looks like clutter or adjusting the camera angles.
- Remote collaborative projects often take a lot longer than a normal one would. You may need to ask for more time than you might have estimated. This can save your product from looking rushed.
- Always make sure you have free disc space before you launch into the shoot. A full memory is annoying enough in itself, you don’t want that sort of trouble during a remote shoot.
- Always record more footage than you need. You don’t know what you might need it for later to cover up the flaws that you cannot reshoot. You can repurpose it for social media ads as well.
- Organize your footage! You don’t want your resources to be all over the place. You can really end up losing something important because of being disorganized.
Remote collaboration is quite possibly the future of video production. There are a lot of benefits to it that may be overlooked because of all the nuisances.
You can save a lot on travel costs and time while shooting remotely. You can repurpose that budget for something like marketing and branding.
You can also choose to loop in your client during some parts of the production process and incorporate their feedback as well.
Considering how COVID-19 limited mobility to a huge extent, this is a very effective contingency plan if you tread very carefully.
If you are planning to shoot a video with remote collaboration and need some skilled and experienced people to help you out, MotionCue is happy to help.
Schedule a free consultation call with our video strategist