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The Corporate Video Documentary

There are many different styles to use when crafting a corporate video.  Some might be news-style– a “reporter” or spokesperson talking directly to camera.  Others might be conceptual– recreating scenes out in the sales environment or such.  But out of all the video styles in use in corporate America, the documentary is probably the most common. 

corporate video documentary talking headThe Documentary Style

This is the video that is interview driven, what people call talking heads.  Some might view this style as boring or flat.  But it all depends on how you approach it. The talking head, documentary-style video can be highly effective.  There’s a reason it’s the most common style of corporate video out there.

The Power of BRoll

To make it more engaging, the key is to cover the interviews with footage about what they’re talking about.  This is called “B Roll”—the “A Roll” is their interview talking head.  BRoll goes over that.  It’s an old news term and you’ll hear us use the term.  For example, if I was on screen right now talking to you, and you see me talking—that’s the A Roll.  Now if while I’m talking about the beautiful corporate campus, we go away to footage of what I’m describing, that’s the BRoll.

Length Matters

When building a corporate documentary video, it’s good to keep it short.  Two minutes is great.  Definitely under five.  There are times for a ten to twelve minute video, but the subject matter needs to be engaging or necessary, like a training or education video.  And if you’re doing that under five minute video, three people interviewed would be nice for pacing.  You can do one person for a real short video.  Avoid just doing two people.  Three’s a better number.  Call it part of the rule of thirds.

Order of the Shoot

We usually like to shoot the interviews first—that way we can determine what BRoll would be best to shoot.  A common shoot is interviews in the morning, lunch break and then BRoll in the afternoon.  Or we shoot an interview, then supporting BRoll and then go to the next interview.

An interview can take thirty minutes to an hour to setup and then the interviewee is in front of the camera answering questions for maybe ten minutes.  I can go as long as twenty, but anything over that can wear the interviewee down and the laws of diminishing returns take over.

Graphics are Great

One thing you’ll need to decide, is how much and what type of graphics you might need.  Maybe it’s just text only.  Or maybe you need some animation to keep it interesting.  In some industries, like medical or mechanical, you might even need 3D animation.

One other common technique is the use of photos and client supplied videos.  It can be as simple as putting photos over the talking head, or it might be as complicated as layering the photos and giving it some movement.  These are all options for you when you make your corporate documentary video.

Last Thoughts

Just because the corporate video documentary relies on talking heads, you can still be incredibly creative and effective.  Your corporate story is important and needs to be told in a way that gets your audience engaging.  If you like this blog article, please share on social media, leave comments, or click like.