The TopLine video team had a busy April, shooting around the world to produce top-notch international corporate video content for our clients. Their action-packed schedule sent our producer Sian to South Africa, with Dan the camera-man and Jamie our director working in Australia, Canada, the UK and Singapore – all in all they covered 5 continents in 5 weeks!
With Egypt, Pakistan, India, most states in the US and Russia also under the belt, we can happily say our video team knows rather a lot about how to do global video production really really well.
What we’ve learnt about global video production so far
1. Finding the middle ground
Companies are thinking big, but budgets aren’t. Global video production costs can hit the stratosphere if whole crews are sent out to film around the world, and let’s face it, unless you’re Emirates, flying teams of people around the globe at vast, and in our view, unnecessary expense, isn’t going to be high on your to-do list. On the flip-side, hiring entirely local crews in different locations, and relying on them to get the correct footage based on a brief, without actually sending anyone to oversee the action on the ground, can be pricey too: while you may save some pennies upfront, the end result is often shoddy and can cost your company dearly.
As a result of our travels we have found the perfect formula: send out people who are key to the shoot (those involved in pre and post production), who can then connect and work with local, affordable talent on the ground. This way you get the best of both worlds: great video content that doesn’t blow the budget.
2. Consistency is our lodestar
Production value and crew talent vary from place to place. Sometimes, even the gear available for hire is different: the camera of choice in Canada is completely unknown in Singapore which could have hugely impacted our April shoot’s visual continuity. With our TopLine director and cameraman present in both countries (and in charge from scriptwriting to final edit) the quality of the footage never varied, and the team produced seamless content that stayed true to concept and style.
3. Working with locals
This can be tricky but we’ve learnt quickly. Before hiring local crews we check their filming style and level of skill. Once we’re happy with the quality of what they can do, we discuss budget and how they like to be paid: cash upfront or bank deposit later.
We can’t afford for any instructions to get lost in translation. Whatever it takes to communicate clearly to the crew we do it – even if we look silly. And then we triple-check that they’ve under-stood.
4. Local intel is very helpful
We like having a guide. Their language skills and street-cred have helped us navigate location reccies, communicate with the crew and stay out of prison (no drone shots in Singapore…ever). After all, there is only so much you can learn from Google before you fly out…
In Singapore, Dan was taken undercover for the perfect shot.
Our guide let us know that surfers like to catch the early tide – we would never have gotten this shot without local knowledge!
5. We’re nice – even to Australians
Each country has a different rulebook. We pay attention to any sensitivities around culture, religion, language, locations and rules around filming permits. That final one, we may have learnt the hard way. There may or may not be some Australian security guards who are less than pleased with us right now.
6. We prepare – for anything
It’s a wild world out there. Things break. The map app lies. Weather turns bad. People turn ugly. We always keep local currency on us, reccie locations the day before, have Chuck Norris on speed-dial and carry rope.
The TopLine topknot.
7. We will now always and forever wear sunblock
If your corporate video needs the global touch, then get in touch with Jamie, our in-house director and head of production.