Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Show our clients how we make their videos!

Making Corporate Animation

Clients often come to us with no idea how a corporate animation is made, what to expect of their animation company. When they see the first version, clients are surprised there’s little movement or design, everything is a bit simplistic. That’s because animation is an iterative process, with the details and complexity building with each version.

We created this short film to help people visualise and understand the process, so take 90 seconds out of your day and learn how we make our animations!

corporate animation

Discovery

We start with a Discovery Workshop, where we listen to your challenge, discuss your audience and identify your key messages. Our clients find this process exciting and very revealing!

Next, we work out how to communicate these in a memorable way and share this with you in a script. You’ll give your feedback on this, and we exchange drafts until we have the production script.

  Click here to contact us 

Then we draw a storyboard to help you visualise how the action will play out, and create a moodboard to show you what it will look like

Once you’re happy, we go into production.

 

nc workshop

What’s with the Octopus?

Production

First you’ll see an animatic, which is a basic version with a dummy voice over. Then we’ll start bringing in the style and making things move. You’ll be commenting on each version to help us refine it, until we’re adding nice flourishes that bring it all to life…

Interrogate

Sound

Once you’ve signed off the animation, we record the final voice over, mix in music and add sound effects. Sound effects are particularly important, they help the action you’re seeing feel more real.

Delivery

We bring this all together into your finished animation. You can see more of our corporate animation in our portfolio. If you’re interested in creating a corporate animation to help grow your business, get in touch.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
We created this video to help our clients understand how long it take to create an animation.

One question clients always ask us at Napoleon Creative is “How long will it take to make the animation?” They’re keen to know how long animation takes to produce so they can plan their marketing campaign.

What factors affect how long animation takes?

Here are five key variables which will affect the answer.

First, how clear your message is when you start working with us.

Some clients have a very clear idea of what they’re communicating, others need more time developing their ideas with us before we can really start writing on the script.

We can accelerate this with our Discovery Deck workshop.

Second, how well we know you as a client.

If you’re a new client, then it’ll take us a little while to get to know your brand – both in terms of your visual style and tone of voice.

The more work together, the quicker we’ll be able to come up with ideas that work for your brand.

Third, the complexity of the animation style. Word or icon based animations tend to be faster than character animation.

That said, if you’re adding more effects and 3D, it can take longer!

It’s all about getting the right look according to the time available and budget you’ve invested.

For example, one client came to us with a two-week deadline, which is tight for bid video production.

We needed a whole host of characters working in an office together, so we went for a modern, streamline style which meant we didn’t have to animate all their facial expressions.

The result was a cool and complex animation delivered in under a fortnight.

Fourth, the size of the team we allocate to your animation.

If you’re in a hurry, we can put more of our team members on the job.

This always makes it a little more complicated to manage, with people working on different parts of the animation at the same time, but we’re used to that.

And fifth, how quickly you can give us feedback on the work we’re doing.

Obviously we can only make changes and progress the animation if we know what you think of the work done so far!

We use a web-based, video review platform to ensure it’s simple for you to make comments and for us to action them.

Ideally, you’ll give us six weeks to make your animation. We won’t be working on your project the entire time, which means we can take a break from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

This always allows us to develop better ideas.

But if you’ve got a hard deadline, we’ve been known to turn around projects in under a week.

That’s because we have a mature, structured creative process, built over a decade of delivering great animations for our clients.

And we make sure between us that we’ve got the key things right:

So, those are the factors which determine how long it takes to make your animation.
If you need to know anything else, get in touch.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Capgemini,
Goal:
Communicate a complex offering in just two minutes, in a way that would resonate with the audience.

We’ve just delivered on a tight deadline video for one of our regular clients,  to explain their proposition to their potential client in a meeting. The call came on the Thursday. Could we deliver for Wednesday? We took a breath. And got to work.

 

Timeline of a Tight Deadline Video

Thursday

We got the call and an email with a PowerPoint that explained the proposition. I read through the materials, and got my head around what they were asking for. Cracked on with a first draft of the script, delivered by close of play.

 

Friday

I had a call with the stakeholders, and went through the script. They helped flesh out the details,  bringing in clarity to the bits I’d kind of made up. They also brought in technical terms that I didn’t know, but would show to their client they knew what they were talking about.

I then briefed Johnny, one of our illustrators, with the brush strokes of the story. We knew it was set on a train, so he started with a carriage and some people sitting on it! He decided to build the train in 3D in the first instance. When we needed other angles, he was able to rotate the 3D model and redraw.

 

 

From this schematic, he could then draw the carriage in his inimitable style.

 

 

 

I then worked on the script and sketched some quick storyboards.

 

Meanwhile, Simran then started working on some of the technical scenes, which would need some thought.

  Click here to contact us  

Johnny also worked on character development, from quick sketches…

 

 

…through to something more detailed. By the end of the day, we were able to show a few design and quick animations to the client to give them a flavour of what we were doing.

 

 

Weekend

Over the weekend, Johnny drew like crazy, creating layered art work so we could start work on Monday morning. I checked in with him regularly, to keep his work on target. It’s always nice to give an illustrator free reign, and see where their imagination gets to, but for this job we didn’t have time for him to stray too far from what I imagined. By Sunday night, we had the key scenes drawn up. Our tight deadline video was on schedule.

 

Monday

All hands on deck. First we went through the storyboards as a team, so we all knew what we’re doing. Simran and Yair started working on the animation. Johnny carried on designing, with new builds. One thing we were clear on; we knew we want to add more details to the scenes but the priority was to get all of them complete in a simple form. Then we can look at how much time we have to finesse.

We got the first assembly complete just after lunch. All scenes were in there, even if they’re just stills. Another script call, and we get the script signed off. They reviewed the first assembly and we started on the changes. We made sure everyone in the NC team notes all the changes, as a change in one scene can have an impact on later ones.

I headed to the voice over record at 5. With the tight turnaround, I’d offered my services as the voice, to save having to cast a voice artist, and I know the script well. So by 5.45 I’d left the booth and I’m cycling back, while the chosen takes were whizzing back to the studio via WeTransfer.

Johnny finished up his designs, having added a cast of thousands to the train scenes. Simran and Yair stayed on late, tweaking the animations. I started adding my voice to the timeline. By 8pm, we’re sending the client a really sturdy version for their comments. Oh, and we prepared the sound files, so Joel can start building the sound effects overnight.

 

Tuesday

We were back in the studio super early. We had more client changes, all fairly straight forward. We were now at the stage where we could sprinkle on a little more magic, adding a few more facial expressions and speed lines outside the train window. We used a great Deadpool camera plug in on the train scenes, which gives the carriage interior shots the feeling that you’re on the train with the characters. We had whole conversations about what kind of people travel on trains and why are they on their journey, which means we add suitcases and dogs in the aisle, newspapers and all sorts.

The client signed off on a version around 2pm, so we know we’ve delivered what they need. We now have the rest of the afternoon and evening to surprise them with a little more sparkle still. We start working on the extras – giving them a bit more movement in the background, adding more each scene.

Late afternoon, Joel delivered the sound files, with voice over, music and sound effects  all mixed nicely together. We bit off more than we could chew on one scene, which ended up taking way longer than we planned.

We delivered the final file around 6.30 pm, which the clients love. Plenty of new details, some they might not even have noticed, but all of which add to the feel of quality of the film.

 

So that’s how we achieved a tight deadline video. I have to say that I was super impressed by what the Napoleon Creative team pulled together, in such a short time. I think setting it on a train was a great idea, as it’s an environment we all know and relate to. This made it easy for us to make it feel very real quickly. It also helps that over the decade of making animation, we’ve got our process down, and can quickly jump on a project. So if you have a tight deadline video, you know who to call!

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Goal:

If you’re giving a presentation to camera, a teleprompter can really help you deliver a great performance. But it’s not as simple as putting the script on the machine and hitting go. I’ve worked with a range of presenters using a teleprompter, from CEOs of worldwide organisations to founders of start ups. In this article I’m going to give you my key teleprompter tips to getting the best performance.

Want to know more about interview filming styles?

 

My Teleprompter Tips

The first place to start is with the script. When people write their first draft, it’s often in a very ‘written’ tone of voice. For example “we will” and “it is”. When we speak we automatically truncate these words, so putting the shortened form in the script will make it easier to read, and sound a lot more natural.

The next thing is to look at where your sentences land. By this, I mean to put the key word at the end of the sentence. So rather than saying:

“Cloud services are what the client will typically choose.”

Move the cloud services to the end, so it makes it easier to emphasis that word:

“Typically a client will choose cloud services”

If your presentation is longer than 90 seconds, I recommend finding points where you can break the presentation, so it can be filmed in chunks. To avoid a jump cut like this, we can either:

  • change the shot size.
  • plan full screen graphics that can cover any breaks
  • change locations

Whichever trick you choose, it’ll mean you don’t have to get a ten minute take that perfect!

Looking good on camera

Teleprompter tips

Before start, we’ll offer you a little make up. We use Clinique’s invisible matte powder. It leaves no colour, but takes out the shine from the lights. Particular handy for those with receding hairlines.

We also use Garnier surf hair, which is a light paste that will flatten stray hairs, which get caught in the light.

Working with the Teleprompter

These next teleprompter tips are about actually reading from the screen. When we start filming, there will be a pause before the script starts rolling. This allows us to settle the framing and focus. At this point, just give a big smile into camera. You’ll feel silly and awkward. But it means we can cut at exactly the right moment for the start of the video.

As the words roll up the screen, keep your eyes on this section of the screen. Hopefully you’ll just be able to see the lens. This’ll keep you looking directly to camera.

teleprompter tips

It’ll take a few run throughs for us to set the teleprompter at the right font size and speed for you. And we’re here to be your audience – we’ll let you know if you’re speaking too fast or slow.

When presenters first use a teleprompter, their voice performance can be good, but because they’re not looking at a human being, they forget to use facial expressions. This means even though they’re getting it right in terms of the way the script sounds, the visual performance can look flat.

So as awkward as it might seem, imagine the camera is a person. Use those nods, smiles and eyebrow raises that you would naturally. Don’t worry about going over the top – if your performance starts to look too much, we’ll suggest you bring it down again.

When you’ve finished a take, it’s natural to look up at the camera team to see how you did. Instead gentle smile and keep looking to camera. We won’t say cut for 10 seconds, again to give us a handle for editing.

So those are my telepompter tips. If you’re looking to give a presentation to camera then give us a call at Napoleon Creative and let us help you make it effortless and slick.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

What’s the difference between ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ Filming Styles

We’re often asked for our advice on interview filming styles, that is whether a client should be facing the camera or facing off camera when giving an interview. For us, it’s very much a question of the context of who they’re talking to, and what their message is.

In this article you will discover about ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ interview filming styles for documentary interviews, direct to camera interviews, and other interview shooting styles.


Off Camera Interview Styles

If you are giving a direct message to a group of people, then looking ‘to camera’ or straight into the lens is ideal. This might be for someone filming a video message because they can’t make an event, a business leader talking to their staff about a particular issue, or appealing directly to potential investors. However, if your message is more factual, for example, as part of a brand story video, then it’s better to film off camera, as though talking to an interviewer off camera, which is a more documentary style. This style feels more natural and spontaneous.

Documentary Video Interview Styles

Interview Filming Styles Explained

To Camera

  • Speaker is looking straight into the camera lens

  • Comes across as direct as though the person is speaking directly to the viewer

  • Some speakers find that talking to the lens can feel awkward

  • You can easily use auto cue for the content

  • You can use kit like EyeDirect to make it easier to get people to talk into the lens

Off Camera

  • Speaker is looking just to the side of the camera

  • It feels like they’re talking to someone stood next to the camera, even if you don’t hear their questions

  • The sense of ‘eavesdropping’ a conversation makes it feel more real and credible

  • Very traditional documentary style

  • You can still mount an autocue off to the side of the camera to help with content

Recently, Cawstons Press commissioned us to create a video for potential investors. These are  traditional done with the speakers talking directly to camera, to really engage the individual watching. We recommended creating a brand story video, which would be form the same footage, but this would be off camera. So we ended up filming from both angles simultaneously.

This meant we could edit the piece once, but export as two different styles of film, one to camera, one off. We also edited the content slightly, removing specific references to investment for the brand story film. This meant that our client got the best ROI on the investment in video production, something we always help our clients achieve.

Watch more of our corporate documentaries

 


Start your project



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
To show our Clients how to prepare for filming at their premises.

We film a lot of interviews and testimonial video content for our clients and they often ask “What do I need to know about filming in my office?” While all locations are different, there are some key things we’ll need to make the shoot go smoothly. So here’s our quick FAQ guide to interview filming logistics.

Napoleon Creative’s Guide to Interview Filming Logistics

What size room do I book for filming?

We suggest a board room that can seat at least 8-10 people. This means we’ll have plenty of space to give space around the contributor, set up lighting. When thinking about interview filming styles, if it’s an off camera interview you’ll need a good 2-3 metres between the interviewer and interviewee. It’s helpful if the table in the room can be moved. Windows to the outside world can be a challenge, depending on the weather. If it’s cloudy, with the sun going in and out, it can make each take look different! So ideally, the lighting can be controlled. It’s great if we can turn off the air conditioning in that room as well.

 

How long does it take to get set up for corporate interview filming?

show thought leadership

It can take us an hour to get into some corporate building, between dropping the kit and parking, then getting through security and up to the room. We also need an hour once we’re in the room, so we can pick up the shots and set up the lights. So we always make our call time two hours before the interview needs to start.

 

How long do you need to film an interview?

For a typical 3 minute film, we usually interview for 20-30 mins. However, we need a little extra time to get the contributor settled, tweak the lights to them, and get them warmed up. We also like film a little B-Roll, which takes another 10-15 minutes. So we tell our clients to tell the contributor it’ll take an hour out of their diary, then when they get out early they feel they’ve got a bonus ten minutes in their day!

 

What is B-Roll?

B-Roll is the additional footage of the contributor and location that we edit with the footage, as you can see in this client testimonial footage. We film for 10-15 minutes with the client, ideally in 5-6 different scenarios, such as looking at their laptop, talking to clients, or smiling to camera. Ideally the contributor is interacting with other people in several shots.

We tend to use only a few seconds of each, but these shots make a huge difference to the finished piece.

When do you film location shots?

We usually find time within the shoot to film location shots. These might be establishing shots of the building, or logos on the reception wall. We also shoot generic office shots, without anyone clearly in shot. Note that with shared buildings, where a company say only hires a floor, rather than the whole building, you may not be able take shots of the shared areas of the building.

 

Who should I tell that we’re filming?

testimonial video

First off, you’ll need to tell security and reception to ensure we can get into the building. For some companies, it’s good to notify press and publicity, as they like to be aware of what’s being recorded. It’s really important to warn the staff that filming is taking place. We suggest an email to the department where filming is taking place, plus putting A4 posters up on the wall. Anyone who doesn’t want to be filmed can tell us, and we’ll avoid getting them on camera.

 

How long should I schedule for the filming?

An ideal schedule would be something like this:

08:00 Arrive on site, get through reception and our kit into the building. Park van if necessary, and get to the room

09:00 Set up the room with lights

10:00 First interview – then allow 40 minutes between each interview, plus a B-Roll

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Continue filming

16:00 Last interview

17:00 Finish filming, get kit out of the room

18:00 Return to base

How long before we can see an edit?

This is one of the first questions we get asked! It largely depends on the type of interview. Cutting down to an initial sequence doesn’t take long, and we can show you that usually the next day. How long it takes to complete the whole film depends on the number of people filmed and how urgently you need it!

So those are the key things to know about interview filming logistics. Hopefully that’s made things a little easier for you!



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Cawston Press,
Services:
Goal:
Communicate the brand story through video and animation.

Our clients are often a little worried when they first see the rushes of our films. They come out really quite… grey. That’s why we’ve created this short grading showreel, to show you what’s possible! What you see below left is the footage as shot, and on the right after it’s been graded.

Grading showreel comparison

This project was for Cawston Press, who have such a distinctive branding. It’s all about bright primary colours against crisp whites. Bringing that same quality out in the footage we shot was key.

Grading is one of the most fun jobs in film making is the grade. Once you’ve got all the shots edited down, it’s time to colour balance them to make them look their best, and also create a consistent look across the film. When filming we shot projects like this in Log, which means as much data from the camera’s sensors are kept in the file. When we take this file into the edit, we can play around with the colours as well like. For this one we went to Coda Post Production, and got their usual warm welcome and highly slick service.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Infosys,
Goal:
Capture a compelling testimonial that will show the benefits of working with our client.

On Tuesday we bombed up to Cardiff film to a client testimonial video for Infosys, a consulting, IT services and digital transformation company. Infosys wanted to show the video at an Expo two days later, so we had a really tight turnaround.

In the video, Peter talks about the amazing transformation Infosys has brought about in the IT department of Welsh Water. Thanks to their Enterprise Services Management Café, the companies could rapidly deploy new IT solutions with little disruption to the business. Hearing Peter speak, you realise just how successful the project has been. He gave us a great deal of time, and tolerated us filming lots of B-roll.

B Roll really brings a Client Testimonial Video to Life

B-roll comes from the Hollywood tradition of having two camera crews, the A team who film the main action, and a B team who cover the ‘pick ups’. This might be establishing shots, a second angle on the scene, or maybe a close up of an object mentioned by the actors. In today’s world, it largely means shots that don’t have dialogue, which can be used to cover cuts in the interview.

Client testimonial video

We filmed Peter having meetings or discussions with his various teams. One tip when filming them is to always talk about work. If you start to talk about football, your holiday or the weather, the reactions you get don’t look right!

We filmed the interview in 4k, even though we were delivered on standard HD. The advantage of this is that you can crop in to the 4k image, and it still look great in HD. When you’re only filming on one camera, it means you can change the shot size in the interview.

 

Find out how a testimonial video can help your company

 

Modern technology also allows great flexibility on the editing front. With the latest Adobe Premiere, you can create ‘proxy files’ from the 4K footage. That means that basically you’re editing a low resolution version of the project. Even my old 11″ Macbook Air could cope with the footage! I set up in my seat on the train back, and started to cut together then b-roll. When back at the office, I could whizz through the interview and had the first cut if the client testimonial video to them by 7pm. Now that’s a fast turnaround!

Client testimonial video

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Explaining how we make whiteboard animation

Making Whiteboard animation

We start the process the same way we do with any other animation. We run a Discovery Workshop to clarify your ideas and messaging. We then write a script and support it with a storyboard, so you can see how the video will progress. We then build an animatic, a simple version with static images appear to a dummy voice over, read by one of our team. We deliver several iterations of this, until you’re happy we’ve got the story right

Watch how we make an animation

whiteboard animation benefitsOnce you’ve signed it off, we go into the studio. As you can see from the clip above, we need a lot of space to get the lighting right! The trick is to balance getting enough light on the board to make it appear bright and clean, without losing the details of the illustrator’s skin tone and texture.

However, do you want to know the most important thing when filming a whiteboard animation? A really heavy table at the right height! This is so the illustrator can draw comfortably, but so that the board stays still while filming.

We set up a laptop on the table with the animatic, so the illustrator can look at what they need to draw. We look at the image being filmed, and then set out markers to show the edge of the screen. This helps them keep their drawings within the frame. You’ll spot there’s also a monitor, so they can see what’s being filmed.

We film everything in 4k, an ultrahigh video resolution, which means we can zoom in and crop the images if we need to. For example, we might zoom in to a small section in close up to watch a detail being drawn, then zoom out to reveal the master image.

Dos and Don’ts of Whiteboard Animations

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to making a great whiteboard animation

  • Always use a real hand drawing, not just a static image of a hand then just move it on screen
  • Rather than creating lots of individual images to make each point, try to make them build into a larger image
  • Don’t make your illustrations too literal. We’ve been known to throw in penguins and parrots to keep even the driest whiteboard animation fun!
  • Be sure to change colour to add interest, but don’t fake it. We’ve seen animations using a fake hand to draw a full colour photo with a single black pen! Keep it real.
  • If you want to include a photo, print it on card, and slide it on to the board.
  • In fact, we encourage clients to add different textures to the video, like the paper cut outs on this whiteboard explainer we made for WarwickNet, which can add movement to the piece
  • Use a freshly cleaned whiteboard, with very few nicks. We find the cream kitchen cleaners are the best for lifting off old ink.
  • Colour grade the video in post-production so the white space is really white, it’s easy for the edges to fade out to grey or yellow
  • Never, ever say ‘oh we can correct it in post’ – it’s much harder to do that than it sounds. We know if the drawing goes astray, it’s best to start again


At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Show our clients how we make their videos!

Making Corporate Animation

Clients often come to us with no idea how a corporate animation is made, what to expect of their animation company. When they see the first version, clients are surprised there’s little movement or design, everything is a bit simplistic. That’s because animation is an iterative process, with the details and complexity building with each version.

We created this short film to help people visualise and understand the process, so take 90 seconds out of your day and learn how we make our animations!

corporate animation

Discovery

We start with a Discovery Workshop, where we listen to your challenge, discuss your audience and identify your key messages. Our clients find this process exciting and very revealing!

Next, we work out how to communicate these in a memorable way and share this with you in a script. You’ll give your feedback on this, and we exchange drafts until we have the production script.

  Click here to contact us 

Then we draw a storyboard to help you visualise how the action will play out, and create a moodboard to show you what it will look like

Once you’re happy, we go into production.

 

nc workshop

What’s with the Octopus?

Production

First you’ll see an animatic, which is a basic version with a dummy voice over. Then we’ll start bringing in the style and making things move. You’ll be commenting on each version to help us refine it, until we’re adding nice flourishes that bring it all to life…

Interrogate

Sound

Once you’ve signed off the animation, we record the final voice over, mix in music and add sound effects. Sound effects are particularly important, they help the action you’re seeing feel more real.

Delivery

We bring this all together into your finished animation. You can see more of our corporate animation in our portfolio. If you’re interested in creating a corporate animation to help grow your business, get in touch.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
We created this video to help our clients understand how long it take to create an animation.

One question clients always ask us at Napoleon Creative is “How long will it take to make the animation?” They’re keen to know how long animation takes to produce so they can plan their marketing campaign.

What factors affect how long animation takes?

Here are five key variables which will affect the answer.

First, how clear your message is when you start working with us.

Some clients have a very clear idea of what they’re communicating, others need more time developing their ideas with us before we can really start writing on the script.

We can accelerate this with our Discovery Deck workshop.

Second, how well we know you as a client.

If you’re a new client, then it’ll take us a little while to get to know your brand – both in terms of your visual style and tone of voice.

The more work together, the quicker we’ll be able to come up with ideas that work for your brand.

Third, the complexity of the animation style. Word or icon based animations tend to be faster than character animation.

That said, if you’re adding more effects and 3D, it can take longer!

It’s all about getting the right look according to the time available and budget you’ve invested.

For example, one client came to us with a two-week deadline, which is tight for bid video production.

We needed a whole host of characters working in an office together, so we went for a modern, streamline style which meant we didn’t have to animate all their facial expressions.

The result was a cool and complex animation delivered in under a fortnight.

Fourth, the size of the team we allocate to your animation.

If you’re in a hurry, we can put more of our team members on the job.

This always makes it a little more complicated to manage, with people working on different parts of the animation at the same time, but we’re used to that.

And fifth, how quickly you can give us feedback on the work we’re doing.

Obviously we can only make changes and progress the animation if we know what you think of the work done so far!

We use a web-based, video review platform to ensure it’s simple for you to make comments and for us to action them.

Ideally, you’ll give us six weeks to make your animation. We won’t be working on your project the entire time, which means we can take a break from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

This always allows us to develop better ideas.

But if you’ve got a hard deadline, we’ve been known to turn around projects in under a week.

That’s because we have a mature, structured creative process, built over a decade of delivering great animations for our clients.

And we make sure between us that we’ve got the key things right:

So, those are the factors which determine how long it takes to make your animation.
If you need to know anything else, get in touch.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Capgemini,
Goal:
Communicate a complex offering in just two minutes, in a way that would resonate with the audience.

We’ve just delivered on a tight deadline video for one of our regular clients,  to explain their proposition to their potential client in a meeting. The call came on the Thursday. Could we deliver for Wednesday? We took a breath. And got to work.

 

Timeline of a Tight Deadline Video

Thursday

We got the call and an email with a PowerPoint that explained the proposition. I read through the materials, and got my head around what they were asking for. Cracked on with a first draft of the script, delivered by close of play.

 

Friday

I had a call with the stakeholders, and went through the script. They helped flesh out the details,  bringing in clarity to the bits I’d kind of made up. They also brought in technical terms that I didn’t know, but would show to their client they knew what they were talking about.

I then briefed Johnny, one of our illustrators, with the brush strokes of the story. We knew it was set on a train, so he started with a carriage and some people sitting on it! He decided to build the train in 3D in the first instance. When we needed other angles, he was able to rotate the 3D model and redraw.

 

 

From this schematic, he could then draw the carriage in his inimitable style.

 

 

 

I then worked on the script and sketched some quick storyboards.

 

Meanwhile, Simran then started working on some of the technical scenes, which would need some thought.

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Johnny also worked on character development, from quick sketches…

 

 

…through to something more detailed. By the end of the day, we were able to show a few design and quick animations to the client to give them a flavour of what we were doing.

 

 

Weekend

Over the weekend, Johnny drew like crazy, creating layered art work so we could start work on Monday morning. I checked in with him regularly, to keep his work on target. It’s always nice to give an illustrator free reign, and see where their imagination gets to, but for this job we didn’t have time for him to stray too far from what I imagined. By Sunday night, we had the key scenes drawn up. Our tight deadline video was on schedule.

 

Monday

All hands on deck. First we went through the storyboards as a team, so we all knew what we’re doing. Simran and Yair started working on the animation. Johnny carried on designing, with new builds. One thing we were clear on; we knew we want to add more details to the scenes but the priority was to get all of them complete in a simple form. Then we can look at how much time we have to finesse.

We got the first assembly complete just after lunch. All scenes were in there, even if they’re just stills. Another script call, and we get the script signed off. They reviewed the first assembly and we started on the changes. We made sure everyone in the NC team notes all the changes, as a change in one scene can have an impact on later ones.

I headed to the voice over record at 5. With the tight turnaround, I’d offered my services as the voice, to save having to cast a voice artist, and I know the script well. So by 5.45 I’d left the booth and I’m cycling back, while the chosen takes were whizzing back to the studio via WeTransfer.

Johnny finished up his designs, having added a cast of thousands to the train scenes. Simran and Yair stayed on late, tweaking the animations. I started adding my voice to the timeline. By 8pm, we’re sending the client a really sturdy version for their comments. Oh, and we prepared the sound files, so Joel can start building the sound effects overnight.

 

Tuesday

We were back in the studio super early. We had more client changes, all fairly straight forward. We were now at the stage where we could sprinkle on a little more magic, adding a few more facial expressions and speed lines outside the train window. We used a great Deadpool camera plug in on the train scenes, which gives the carriage interior shots the feeling that you’re on the train with the characters. We had whole conversations about what kind of people travel on trains and why are they on their journey, which means we add suitcases and dogs in the aisle, newspapers and all sorts.

The client signed off on a version around 2pm, so we know we’ve delivered what they need. We now have the rest of the afternoon and evening to surprise them with a little more sparkle still. We start working on the extras – giving them a bit more movement in the background, adding more each scene.

Late afternoon, Joel delivered the sound files, with voice over, music and sound effects  all mixed nicely together. We bit off more than we could chew on one scene, which ended up taking way longer than we planned.

We delivered the final file around 6.30 pm, which the clients love. Plenty of new details, some they might not even have noticed, but all of which add to the feel of quality of the film.

 

So that’s how we achieved a tight deadline video. I have to say that I was super impressed by what the Napoleon Creative team pulled together, in such a short time. I think setting it on a train was a great idea, as it’s an environment we all know and relate to. This made it easy for us to make it feel very real quickly. It also helps that over the decade of making animation, we’ve got our process down, and can quickly jump on a project. So if you have a tight deadline video, you know who to call!

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Goal:

If you’re giving a presentation to camera, a teleprompter can really help you deliver a great performance. But it’s not as simple as putting the script on the machine and hitting go. I’ve worked with a range of presenters using a teleprompter, from CEOs of worldwide organisations to founders of start ups. In this article I’m going to give you my key teleprompter tips to getting the best performance.

Want to know more about interview filming styles?

 

My Teleprompter Tips

The first place to start is with the script. When people write their first draft, it’s often in a very ‘written’ tone of voice. For example “we will” and “it is”. When we speak we automatically truncate these words, so putting the shortened form in the script will make it easier to read, and sound a lot more natural.

The next thing is to look at where your sentences land. By this, I mean to put the key word at the end of the sentence. So rather than saying:

“Cloud services are what the client will typically choose.”

Move the cloud services to the end, so it makes it easier to emphasis that word:

“Typically a client will choose cloud services”

If your presentation is longer than 90 seconds, I recommend finding points where you can break the presentation, so it can be filmed in chunks. To avoid a jump cut like this, we can either:

  • change the shot size.
  • plan full screen graphics that can cover any breaks
  • change locations

Whichever trick you choose, it’ll mean you don’t have to get a ten minute take that perfect!

Looking good on camera

Teleprompter tips

Before start, we’ll offer you a little make up. We use Clinique’s invisible matte powder. It leaves no colour, but takes out the shine from the lights. Particular handy for those with receding hairlines.

We also use Garnier surf hair, which is a light paste that will flatten stray hairs, which get caught in the light.

Working with the Teleprompter

These next teleprompter tips are about actually reading from the screen. When we start filming, there will be a pause before the script starts rolling. This allows us to settle the framing and focus. At this point, just give a big smile into camera. You’ll feel silly and awkward. But it means we can cut at exactly the right moment for the start of the video.

As the words roll up the screen, keep your eyes on this section of the screen. Hopefully you’ll just be able to see the lens. This’ll keep you looking directly to camera.

teleprompter tips

It’ll take a few run throughs for us to set the teleprompter at the right font size and speed for you. And we’re here to be your audience – we’ll let you know if you’re speaking too fast or slow.

When presenters first use a teleprompter, their voice performance can be good, but because they’re not looking at a human being, they forget to use facial expressions. This means even though they’re getting it right in terms of the way the script sounds, the visual performance can look flat.

So as awkward as it might seem, imagine the camera is a person. Use those nods, smiles and eyebrow raises that you would naturally. Don’t worry about going over the top – if your performance starts to look too much, we’ll suggest you bring it down again.

When you’ve finished a take, it’s natural to look up at the camera team to see how you did. Instead gentle smile and keep looking to camera. We won’t say cut for 10 seconds, again to give us a handle for editing.

So those are my telepompter tips. If you’re looking to give a presentation to camera then give us a call at Napoleon Creative and let us help you make it effortless and slick.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

What’s the difference between ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ Filming Styles

We’re often asked for our advice on interview filming styles, that is whether a client should be facing the camera or facing off camera when giving an interview. For us, it’s very much a question of the context of who they’re talking to, and what their message is.

In this article you will discover about ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ interview filming styles for documentary interviews, direct to camera interviews, and other interview shooting styles.


Off Camera Interview Styles

If you are giving a direct message to a group of people, then looking ‘to camera’ or straight into the lens is ideal. This might be for someone filming a video message because they can’t make an event, a business leader talking to their staff about a particular issue, or appealing directly to potential investors. However, if your message is more factual, for example, as part of a brand story video, then it’s better to film off camera, as though talking to an interviewer off camera, which is a more documentary style. This style feels more natural and spontaneous.

Documentary Video Interview Styles

Interview Filming Styles Explained

To Camera

  • Speaker is looking straight into the camera lens

  • Comes across as direct as though the person is speaking directly to the viewer

  • Some speakers find that talking to the lens can feel awkward

  • You can easily use auto cue for the content

  • You can use kit like EyeDirect to make it easier to get people to talk into the lens

Off Camera

  • Speaker is looking just to the side of the camera

  • It feels like they’re talking to someone stood next to the camera, even if you don’t hear their questions

  • The sense of ‘eavesdropping’ a conversation makes it feel more real and credible

  • Very traditional documentary style

  • You can still mount an autocue off to the side of the camera to help with content

Recently, Cawstons Press commissioned us to create a video for potential investors. These are  traditional done with the speakers talking directly to camera, to really engage the individual watching. We recommended creating a brand story video, which would be form the same footage, but this would be off camera. So we ended up filming from both angles simultaneously.

This meant we could edit the piece once, but export as two different styles of film, one to camera, one off. We also edited the content slightly, removing specific references to investment for the brand story film. This meant that our client got the best ROI on the investment in video production, something we always help our clients achieve.

Watch more of our corporate documentaries

 


Start your project



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
To show our Clients how to prepare for filming at their premises.

We film a lot of interviews and testimonial video content for our clients and they often ask “What do I need to know about filming in my office?” While all locations are different, there are some key things we’ll need to make the shoot go smoothly. So here’s our quick FAQ guide to interview filming logistics.

Napoleon Creative’s Guide to Interview Filming Logistics

What size room do I book for filming?

We suggest a board room that can seat at least 8-10 people. This means we’ll have plenty of space to give space around the contributor, set up lighting. When thinking about interview filming styles, if it’s an off camera interview you’ll need a good 2-3 metres between the interviewer and interviewee. It’s helpful if the table in the room can be moved. Windows to the outside world can be a challenge, depending on the weather. If it’s cloudy, with the sun going in and out, it can make each take look different! So ideally, the lighting can be controlled. It’s great if we can turn off the air conditioning in that room as well.

 

How long does it take to get set up for corporate interview filming?

show thought leadership

It can take us an hour to get into some corporate building, between dropping the kit and parking, then getting through security and up to the room. We also need an hour once we’re in the room, so we can pick up the shots and set up the lights. So we always make our call time two hours before the interview needs to start.

 

How long do you need to film an interview?

For a typical 3 minute film, we usually interview for 20-30 mins. However, we need a little extra time to get the contributor settled, tweak the lights to them, and get them warmed up. We also like film a little B-Roll, which takes another 10-15 minutes. So we tell our clients to tell the contributor it’ll take an hour out of their diary, then when they get out early they feel they’ve got a bonus ten minutes in their day!

 

What is B-Roll?

B-Roll is the additional footage of the contributor and location that we edit with the footage, as you can see in this client testimonial footage. We film for 10-15 minutes with the client, ideally in 5-6 different scenarios, such as looking at their laptop, talking to clients, or smiling to camera. Ideally the contributor is interacting with other people in several shots.

We tend to use only a few seconds of each, but these shots make a huge difference to the finished piece.

When do you film location shots?

We usually find time within the shoot to film location shots. These might be establishing shots of the building, or logos on the reception wall. We also shoot generic office shots, without anyone clearly in shot. Note that with shared buildings, where a company say only hires a floor, rather than the whole building, you may not be able take shots of the shared areas of the building.

 

Who should I tell that we’re filming?

testimonial video

First off, you’ll need to tell security and reception to ensure we can get into the building. For some companies, it’s good to notify press and publicity, as they like to be aware of what’s being recorded. It’s really important to warn the staff that filming is taking place. We suggest an email to the department where filming is taking place, plus putting A4 posters up on the wall. Anyone who doesn’t want to be filmed can tell us, and we’ll avoid getting them on camera.

 

How long should I schedule for the filming?

An ideal schedule would be something like this:

08:00 Arrive on site, get through reception and our kit into the building. Park van if necessary, and get to the room

09:00 Set up the room with lights

10:00 First interview – then allow 40 minutes between each interview, plus a B-Roll

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Continue filming

16:00 Last interview

17:00 Finish filming, get kit out of the room

18:00 Return to base

How long before we can see an edit?

This is one of the first questions we get asked! It largely depends on the type of interview. Cutting down to an initial sequence doesn’t take long, and we can show you that usually the next day. How long it takes to complete the whole film depends on the number of people filmed and how urgently you need it!

So those are the key things to know about interview filming logistics. Hopefully that’s made things a little easier for you!



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Cawston Press,
Services:
Goal:
Communicate the brand story through video and animation.

Our clients are often a little worried when they first see the rushes of our films. They come out really quite… grey. That’s why we’ve created this short grading showreel, to show you what’s possible! What you see below left is the footage as shot, and on the right after it’s been graded.

Grading showreel comparison

This project was for Cawston Press, who have such a distinctive branding. It’s all about bright primary colours against crisp whites. Bringing that same quality out in the footage we shot was key.

Grading is one of the most fun jobs in film making is the grade. Once you’ve got all the shots edited down, it’s time to colour balance them to make them look their best, and also create a consistent look across the film. When filming we shot projects like this in Log, which means as much data from the camera’s sensors are kept in the file. When we take this file into the edit, we can play around with the colours as well like. For this one we went to Coda Post Production, and got their usual warm welcome and highly slick service.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Infosys,
Goal:
Capture a compelling testimonial that will show the benefits of working with our client.

On Tuesday we bombed up to Cardiff film to a client testimonial video for Infosys, a consulting, IT services and digital transformation company. Infosys wanted to show the video at an Expo two days later, so we had a really tight turnaround.

In the video, Peter talks about the amazing transformation Infosys has brought about in the IT department of Welsh Water. Thanks to their Enterprise Services Management Café, the companies could rapidly deploy new IT solutions with little disruption to the business. Hearing Peter speak, you realise just how successful the project has been. He gave us a great deal of time, and tolerated us filming lots of B-roll.

B Roll really brings a Client Testimonial Video to Life

B-roll comes from the Hollywood tradition of having two camera crews, the A team who film the main action, and a B team who cover the ‘pick ups’. This might be establishing shots, a second angle on the scene, or maybe a close up of an object mentioned by the actors. In today’s world, it largely means shots that don’t have dialogue, which can be used to cover cuts in the interview.

Client testimonial video

We filmed Peter having meetings or discussions with his various teams. One tip when filming them is to always talk about work. If you start to talk about football, your holiday or the weather, the reactions you get don’t look right!

We filmed the interview in 4k, even though we were delivered on standard HD. The advantage of this is that you can crop in to the 4k image, and it still look great in HD. When you’re only filming on one camera, it means you can change the shot size in the interview.

 

Find out how a testimonial video can help your company

 

Modern technology also allows great flexibility on the editing front. With the latest Adobe Premiere, you can create ‘proxy files’ from the 4K footage. That means that basically you’re editing a low resolution version of the project. Even my old 11″ Macbook Air could cope with the footage! I set up in my seat on the train back, and started to cut together then b-roll. When back at the office, I could whizz through the interview and had the first cut if the client testimonial video to them by 7pm. Now that’s a fast turnaround!

Client testimonial video

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Explaining how we make whiteboard animation

Making Whiteboard animation

We start the process the same way we do with any other animation. We run a Discovery Workshop to clarify your ideas and messaging. We then write a script and support it with a storyboard, so you can see how the video will progress. We then build an animatic, a simple version with static images appear to a dummy voice over, read by one of our team. We deliver several iterations of this, until you’re happy we’ve got the story right

Watch how we make an animation

whiteboard animation benefitsOnce you’ve signed it off, we go into the studio. As you can see from the clip above, we need a lot of space to get the lighting right! The trick is to balance getting enough light on the board to make it appear bright and clean, without losing the details of the illustrator’s skin tone and texture.

However, do you want to know the most important thing when filming a whiteboard animation? A really heavy table at the right height! This is so the illustrator can draw comfortably, but so that the board stays still while filming.

We set up a laptop on the table with the animatic, so the illustrator can look at what they need to draw. We look at the image being filmed, and then set out markers to show the edge of the screen. This helps them keep their drawings within the frame. You’ll spot there’s also a monitor, so they can see what’s being filmed.

We film everything in 4k, an ultrahigh video resolution, which means we can zoom in and crop the images if we need to. For example, we might zoom in to a small section in close up to watch a detail being drawn, then zoom out to reveal the master image.

Dos and Don’ts of Whiteboard Animations

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to making a great whiteboard animation

  • Always use a real hand drawing, not just a static image of a hand then just move it on screen
  • Rather than creating lots of individual images to make each point, try to make them build into a larger image
  • Don’t make your illustrations too literal. We’ve been known to throw in penguins and parrots to keep even the driest whiteboard animation fun!
  • Be sure to change colour to add interest, but don’t fake it. We’ve seen animations using a fake hand to draw a full colour photo with a single black pen! Keep it real.
  • If you want to include a photo, print it on card, and slide it on to the board.
  • In fact, we encourage clients to add different textures to the video, like the paper cut outs on this whiteboard explainer we made for WarwickNet, which can add movement to the piece
  • Use a freshly cleaned whiteboard, with very few nicks. We find the cream kitchen cleaners are the best for lifting off old ink.
  • Colour grade the video in post-production so the white space is really white, it’s easy for the edges to fade out to grey or yellow
  • Never, ever say ‘oh we can correct it in post’ – it’s much harder to do that than it sounds. We know if the drawing goes astray, it’s best to start again


At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Show our clients how we make their videos!

Making Corporate Animation

Clients often come to us with no idea how a corporate animation is made, what to expect of their animation company. When they see the first version, clients are surprised there’s little movement or design, everything is a bit simplistic. That’s because animation is an iterative process, with the details and complexity building with each version.

We created this short film to help people visualise and understand the process, so take 90 seconds out of your day and learn how we make our animations!

corporate animation

Discovery

We start with a Discovery Workshop, where we listen to your challenge, discuss your audience and identify your key messages. Our clients find this process exciting and very revealing!

Next, we work out how to communicate these in a memorable way and share this with you in a script. You’ll give your feedback on this, and we exchange drafts until we have the production script.

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Then we draw a storyboard to help you visualise how the action will play out, and create a moodboard to show you what it will look like

Once you’re happy, we go into production.

 

nc workshop

What’s with the Octopus?

Production

First you’ll see an animatic, which is a basic version with a dummy voice over. Then we’ll start bringing in the style and making things move. You’ll be commenting on each version to help us refine it, until we’re adding nice flourishes that bring it all to life…

Interrogate

Sound

Once you’ve signed off the animation, we record the final voice over, mix in music and add sound effects. Sound effects are particularly important, they help the action you’re seeing feel more real.

Delivery

We bring this all together into your finished animation. You can see more of our corporate animation in our portfolio. If you’re interested in creating a corporate animation to help grow your business, get in touch.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
We created this video to help our clients understand how long it take to create an animation.

One question clients always ask us at Napoleon Creative is “How long will it take to make the animation?” They’re keen to know how long animation takes to produce so they can plan their marketing campaign.

What factors affect how long animation takes?

Here are five key variables which will affect the answer.

First, how clear your message is when you start working with us.

Some clients have a very clear idea of what they’re communicating, others need more time developing their ideas with us before we can really start writing on the script.

We can accelerate this with our Discovery Deck workshop.

Second, how well we know you as a client.

If you’re a new client, then it’ll take us a little while to get to know your brand – both in terms of your visual style and tone of voice.

The more work together, the quicker we’ll be able to come up with ideas that work for your brand.

Third, the complexity of the animation style. Word or icon based animations tend to be faster than character animation.

That said, if you’re adding more effects and 3D, it can take longer!

It’s all about getting the right look according to the time available and budget you’ve invested.

For example, one client came to us with a two-week deadline, which is tight for bid video production.

We needed a whole host of characters working in an office together, so we went for a modern, streamline style which meant we didn’t have to animate all their facial expressions.

The result was a cool and complex animation delivered in under a fortnight.

Fourth, the size of the team we allocate to your animation.

If you’re in a hurry, we can put more of our team members on the job.

This always makes it a little more complicated to manage, with people working on different parts of the animation at the same time, but we’re used to that.

And fifth, how quickly you can give us feedback on the work we’re doing.

Obviously we can only make changes and progress the animation if we know what you think of the work done so far!

We use a web-based, video review platform to ensure it’s simple for you to make comments and for us to action them.

Ideally, you’ll give us six weeks to make your animation. We won’t be working on your project the entire time, which means we can take a break from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

This always allows us to develop better ideas.

But if you’ve got a hard deadline, we’ve been known to turn around projects in under a week.

That’s because we have a mature, structured creative process, built over a decade of delivering great animations for our clients.

And we make sure between us that we’ve got the key things right:

So, those are the factors which determine how long it takes to make your animation.
If you need to know anything else, get in touch.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Capgemini,
Goal:
Communicate a complex offering in just two minutes, in a way that would resonate with the audience.

We’ve just delivered on a tight deadline video for one of our regular clients,  to explain their proposition to their potential client in a meeting. The call came on the Thursday. Could we deliver for Wednesday? We took a breath. And got to work.

 

Timeline of a Tight Deadline Video

Thursday

We got the call and an email with a PowerPoint that explained the proposition. I read through the materials, and got my head around what they were asking for. Cracked on with a first draft of the script, delivered by close of play.

 

Friday

I had a call with the stakeholders, and went through the script. They helped flesh out the details,  bringing in clarity to the bits I’d kind of made up. They also brought in technical terms that I didn’t know, but would show to their client they knew what they were talking about.

I then briefed Johnny, one of our illustrators, with the brush strokes of the story. We knew it was set on a train, so he started with a carriage and some people sitting on it! He decided to build the train in 3D in the first instance. When we needed other angles, he was able to rotate the 3D model and redraw.

 

 

From this schematic, he could then draw the carriage in his inimitable style.

 

 

 

I then worked on the script and sketched some quick storyboards.

 

Meanwhile, Simran then started working on some of the technical scenes, which would need some thought.

  Click here to contact us  

Johnny also worked on character development, from quick sketches…

 

 

…through to something more detailed. By the end of the day, we were able to show a few design and quick animations to the client to give them a flavour of what we were doing.

 

 

Weekend

Over the weekend, Johnny drew like crazy, creating layered art work so we could start work on Monday morning. I checked in with him regularly, to keep his work on target. It’s always nice to give an illustrator free reign, and see where their imagination gets to, but for this job we didn’t have time for him to stray too far from what I imagined. By Sunday night, we had the key scenes drawn up. Our tight deadline video was on schedule.

 

Monday

All hands on deck. First we went through the storyboards as a team, so we all knew what we’re doing. Simran and Yair started working on the animation. Johnny carried on designing, with new builds. One thing we were clear on; we knew we want to add more details to the scenes but the priority was to get all of them complete in a simple form. Then we can look at how much time we have to finesse.

We got the first assembly complete just after lunch. All scenes were in there, even if they’re just stills. Another script call, and we get the script signed off. They reviewed the first assembly and we started on the changes. We made sure everyone in the NC team notes all the changes, as a change in one scene can have an impact on later ones.

I headed to the voice over record at 5. With the tight turnaround, I’d offered my services as the voice, to save having to cast a voice artist, and I know the script well. So by 5.45 I’d left the booth and I’m cycling back, while the chosen takes were whizzing back to the studio via WeTransfer.

Johnny finished up his designs, having added a cast of thousands to the train scenes. Simran and Yair stayed on late, tweaking the animations. I started adding my voice to the timeline. By 8pm, we’re sending the client a really sturdy version for their comments. Oh, and we prepared the sound files, so Joel can start building the sound effects overnight.

 

Tuesday

We were back in the studio super early. We had more client changes, all fairly straight forward. We were now at the stage where we could sprinkle on a little more magic, adding a few more facial expressions and speed lines outside the train window. We used a great Deadpool camera plug in on the train scenes, which gives the carriage interior shots the feeling that you’re on the train with the characters. We had whole conversations about what kind of people travel on trains and why are they on their journey, which means we add suitcases and dogs in the aisle, newspapers and all sorts.

The client signed off on a version around 2pm, so we know we’ve delivered what they need. We now have the rest of the afternoon and evening to surprise them with a little more sparkle still. We start working on the extras – giving them a bit more movement in the background, adding more each scene.

Late afternoon, Joel delivered the sound files, with voice over, music and sound effects  all mixed nicely together. We bit off more than we could chew on one scene, which ended up taking way longer than we planned.

We delivered the final file around 6.30 pm, which the clients love. Plenty of new details, some they might not even have noticed, but all of which add to the feel of quality of the film.

 

So that’s how we achieved a tight deadline video. I have to say that I was super impressed by what the Napoleon Creative team pulled together, in such a short time. I think setting it on a train was a great idea, as it’s an environment we all know and relate to. This made it easy for us to make it feel very real quickly. It also helps that over the decade of making animation, we’ve got our process down, and can quickly jump on a project. So if you have a tight deadline video, you know who to call!

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Goal:

If you’re giving a presentation to camera, a teleprompter can really help you deliver a great performance. But it’s not as simple as putting the script on the machine and hitting go. I’ve worked with a range of presenters using a teleprompter, from CEOs of worldwide organisations to founders of start ups. In this article I’m going to give you my key teleprompter tips to getting the best performance.

Want to know more about interview filming styles?

 

My Teleprompter Tips

The first place to start is with the script. When people write their first draft, it’s often in a very ‘written’ tone of voice. For example “we will” and “it is”. When we speak we automatically truncate these words, so putting the shortened form in the script will make it easier to read, and sound a lot more natural.

The next thing is to look at where your sentences land. By this, I mean to put the key word at the end of the sentence. So rather than saying:

“Cloud services are what the client will typically choose.”

Move the cloud services to the end, so it makes it easier to emphasis that word:

“Typically a client will choose cloud services”

If your presentation is longer than 90 seconds, I recommend finding points where you can break the presentation, so it can be filmed in chunks. To avoid a jump cut like this, we can either:

  • change the shot size.
  • plan full screen graphics that can cover any breaks
  • change locations

Whichever trick you choose, it’ll mean you don’t have to get a ten minute take that perfect!

Looking good on camera

Teleprompter tips

Before start, we’ll offer you a little make up. We use Clinique’s invisible matte powder. It leaves no colour, but takes out the shine from the lights. Particular handy for those with receding hairlines.

We also use Garnier surf hair, which is a light paste that will flatten stray hairs, which get caught in the light.

Working with the Teleprompter

These next teleprompter tips are about actually reading from the screen. When we start filming, there will be a pause before the script starts rolling. This allows us to settle the framing and focus. At this point, just give a big smile into camera. You’ll feel silly and awkward. But it means we can cut at exactly the right moment for the start of the video.

As the words roll up the screen, keep your eyes on this section of the screen. Hopefully you’ll just be able to see the lens. This’ll keep you looking directly to camera.

teleprompter tips

It’ll take a few run throughs for us to set the teleprompter at the right font size and speed for you. And we’re here to be your audience – we’ll let you know if you’re speaking too fast or slow.

When presenters first use a teleprompter, their voice performance can be good, but because they’re not looking at a human being, they forget to use facial expressions. This means even though they’re getting it right in terms of the way the script sounds, the visual performance can look flat.

So as awkward as it might seem, imagine the camera is a person. Use those nods, smiles and eyebrow raises that you would naturally. Don’t worry about going over the top – if your performance starts to look too much, we’ll suggest you bring it down again.

When you’ve finished a take, it’s natural to look up at the camera team to see how you did. Instead gentle smile and keep looking to camera. We won’t say cut for 10 seconds, again to give us a handle for editing.

So those are my telepompter tips. If you’re looking to give a presentation to camera then give us a call at Napoleon Creative and let us help you make it effortless and slick.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

What’s the difference between ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ Filming Styles

We’re often asked for our advice on interview filming styles, that is whether a client should be facing the camera or facing off camera when giving an interview. For us, it’s very much a question of the context of who they’re talking to, and what their message is.

In this article you will discover about ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ interview filming styles for documentary interviews, direct to camera interviews, and other interview shooting styles.


Off Camera Interview Styles

If you are giving a direct message to a group of people, then looking ‘to camera’ or straight into the lens is ideal. This might be for someone filming a video message because they can’t make an event, a business leader talking to their staff about a particular issue, or appealing directly to potential investors. However, if your message is more factual, for example, as part of a brand story video, then it’s better to film off camera, as though talking to an interviewer off camera, which is a more documentary style. This style feels more natural and spontaneous.

Documentary Video Interview Styles

Interview Filming Styles Explained

To Camera

  • Speaker is looking straight into the camera lens

  • Comes across as direct as though the person is speaking directly to the viewer

  • Some speakers find that talking to the lens can feel awkward

  • You can easily use auto cue for the content

  • You can use kit like EyeDirect to make it easier to get people to talk into the lens

Off Camera

  • Speaker is looking just to the side of the camera

  • It feels like they’re talking to someone stood next to the camera, even if you don’t hear their questions

  • The sense of ‘eavesdropping’ a conversation makes it feel more real and credible

  • Very traditional documentary style

  • You can still mount an autocue off to the side of the camera to help with content

Recently, Cawstons Press commissioned us to create a video for potential investors. These are  traditional done with the speakers talking directly to camera, to really engage the individual watching. We recommended creating a brand story video, which would be form the same footage, but this would be off camera. So we ended up filming from both angles simultaneously.

This meant we could edit the piece once, but export as two different styles of film, one to camera, one off. We also edited the content slightly, removing specific references to investment for the brand story film. This meant that our client got the best ROI on the investment in video production, something we always help our clients achieve.

Watch more of our corporate documentaries

 


Start your project



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
To show our Clients how to prepare for filming at their premises.

We film a lot of interviews and testimonial video content for our clients and they often ask “What do I need to know about filming in my office?” While all locations are different, there are some key things we’ll need to make the shoot go smoothly. So here’s our quick FAQ guide to interview filming logistics.

Napoleon Creative’s Guide to Interview Filming Logistics

What size room do I book for filming?

We suggest a board room that can seat at least 8-10 people. This means we’ll have plenty of space to give space around the contributor, set up lighting. When thinking about interview filming styles, if it’s an off camera interview you’ll need a good 2-3 metres between the interviewer and interviewee. It’s helpful if the table in the room can be moved. Windows to the outside world can be a challenge, depending on the weather. If it’s cloudy, with the sun going in and out, it can make each take look different! So ideally, the lighting can be controlled. It’s great if we can turn off the air conditioning in that room as well.

 

How long does it take to get set up for corporate interview filming?

show thought leadership

It can take us an hour to get into some corporate building, between dropping the kit and parking, then getting through security and up to the room. We also need an hour once we’re in the room, so we can pick up the shots and set up the lights. So we always make our call time two hours before the interview needs to start.

 

How long do you need to film an interview?

For a typical 3 minute film, we usually interview for 20-30 mins. However, we need a little extra time to get the contributor settled, tweak the lights to them, and get them warmed up. We also like film a little B-Roll, which takes another 10-15 minutes. So we tell our clients to tell the contributor it’ll take an hour out of their diary, then when they get out early they feel they’ve got a bonus ten minutes in their day!

 

What is B-Roll?

B-Roll is the additional footage of the contributor and location that we edit with the footage, as you can see in this client testimonial footage. We film for 10-15 minutes with the client, ideally in 5-6 different scenarios, such as looking at their laptop, talking to clients, or smiling to camera. Ideally the contributor is interacting with other people in several shots.

We tend to use only a few seconds of each, but these shots make a huge difference to the finished piece.

When do you film location shots?

We usually find time within the shoot to film location shots. These might be establishing shots of the building, or logos on the reception wall. We also shoot generic office shots, without anyone clearly in shot. Note that with shared buildings, where a company say only hires a floor, rather than the whole building, you may not be able take shots of the shared areas of the building.

 

Who should I tell that we’re filming?

testimonial video

First off, you’ll need to tell security and reception to ensure we can get into the building. For some companies, it’s good to notify press and publicity, as they like to be aware of what’s being recorded. It’s really important to warn the staff that filming is taking place. We suggest an email to the department where filming is taking place, plus putting A4 posters up on the wall. Anyone who doesn’t want to be filmed can tell us, and we’ll avoid getting them on camera.

 

How long should I schedule for the filming?

An ideal schedule would be something like this:

08:00 Arrive on site, get through reception and our kit into the building. Park van if necessary, and get to the room

09:00 Set up the room with lights

10:00 First interview – then allow 40 minutes between each interview, plus a B-Roll

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Continue filming

16:00 Last interview

17:00 Finish filming, get kit out of the room

18:00 Return to base

How long before we can see an edit?

This is one of the first questions we get asked! It largely depends on the type of interview. Cutting down to an initial sequence doesn’t take long, and we can show you that usually the next day. How long it takes to complete the whole film depends on the number of people filmed and how urgently you need it!

So those are the key things to know about interview filming logistics. Hopefully that’s made things a little easier for you!



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Cawston Press,
Services:
Goal:
Communicate the brand story through video and animation.

Our clients are often a little worried when they first see the rushes of our films. They come out really quite… grey. That’s why we’ve created this short grading showreel, to show you what’s possible! What you see below left is the footage as shot, and on the right after it’s been graded.

Grading showreel comparison

This project was for Cawston Press, who have such a distinctive branding. It’s all about bright primary colours against crisp whites. Bringing that same quality out in the footage we shot was key.

Grading is one of the most fun jobs in film making is the grade. Once you’ve got all the shots edited down, it’s time to colour balance them to make them look their best, and also create a consistent look across the film. When filming we shot projects like this in Log, which means as much data from the camera’s sensors are kept in the file. When we take this file into the edit, we can play around with the colours as well like. For this one we went to Coda Post Production, and got their usual warm welcome and highly slick service.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Infosys,
Goal:
Capture a compelling testimonial that will show the benefits of working with our client.

On Tuesday we bombed up to Cardiff film to a client testimonial video for Infosys, a consulting, IT services and digital transformation company. Infosys wanted to show the video at an Expo two days later, so we had a really tight turnaround.

In the video, Peter talks about the amazing transformation Infosys has brought about in the IT department of Welsh Water. Thanks to their Enterprise Services Management Café, the companies could rapidly deploy new IT solutions with little disruption to the business. Hearing Peter speak, you realise just how successful the project has been. He gave us a great deal of time, and tolerated us filming lots of B-roll.

B Roll really brings a Client Testimonial Video to Life

B-roll comes from the Hollywood tradition of having two camera crews, the A team who film the main action, and a B team who cover the ‘pick ups’. This might be establishing shots, a second angle on the scene, or maybe a close up of an object mentioned by the actors. In today’s world, it largely means shots that don’t have dialogue, which can be used to cover cuts in the interview.

Client testimonial video

We filmed Peter having meetings or discussions with his various teams. One tip when filming them is to always talk about work. If you start to talk about football, your holiday or the weather, the reactions you get don’t look right!

We filmed the interview in 4k, even though we were delivered on standard HD. The advantage of this is that you can crop in to the 4k image, and it still look great in HD. When you’re only filming on one camera, it means you can change the shot size in the interview.

 

Find out how a testimonial video can help your company

 

Modern technology also allows great flexibility on the editing front. With the latest Adobe Premiere, you can create ‘proxy files’ from the 4K footage. That means that basically you’re editing a low resolution version of the project. Even my old 11″ Macbook Air could cope with the footage! I set up in my seat on the train back, and started to cut together then b-roll. When back at the office, I could whizz through the interview and had the first cut if the client testimonial video to them by 7pm. Now that’s a fast turnaround!

Client testimonial video

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Explaining how we make whiteboard animation

Making Whiteboard animation

We start the process the same way we do with any other animation. We run a Discovery Workshop to clarify your ideas and messaging. We then write a script and support it with a storyboard, so you can see how the video will progress. We then build an animatic, a simple version with static images appear to a dummy voice over, read by one of our team. We deliver several iterations of this, until you’re happy we’ve got the story right

Watch how we make an animation

whiteboard animation benefitsOnce you’ve signed it off, we go into the studio. As you can see from the clip above, we need a lot of space to get the lighting right! The trick is to balance getting enough light on the board to make it appear bright and clean, without losing the details of the illustrator’s skin tone and texture.

However, do you want to know the most important thing when filming a whiteboard animation? A really heavy table at the right height! This is so the illustrator can draw comfortably, but so that the board stays still while filming.

We set up a laptop on the table with the animatic, so the illustrator can look at what they need to draw. We look at the image being filmed, and then set out markers to show the edge of the screen. This helps them keep their drawings within the frame. You’ll spot there’s also a monitor, so they can see what’s being filmed.

We film everything in 4k, an ultrahigh video resolution, which means we can zoom in and crop the images if we need to. For example, we might zoom in to a small section in close up to watch a detail being drawn, then zoom out to reveal the master image.

Dos and Don’ts of Whiteboard Animations

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to making a great whiteboard animation

  • Always use a real hand drawing, not just a static image of a hand then just move it on screen
  • Rather than creating lots of individual images to make each point, try to make them build into a larger image
  • Don’t make your illustrations too literal. We’ve been known to throw in penguins and parrots to keep even the driest whiteboard animation fun!
  • Be sure to change colour to add interest, but don’t fake it. We’ve seen animations using a fake hand to draw a full colour photo with a single black pen! Keep it real.
  • If you want to include a photo, print it on card, and slide it on to the board.
  • In fact, we encourage clients to add different textures to the video, like the paper cut outs on this whiteboard explainer we made for WarwickNet, which can add movement to the piece
  • Use a freshly cleaned whiteboard, with very few nicks. We find the cream kitchen cleaners are the best for lifting off old ink.
  • Colour grade the video in post-production so the white space is really white, it’s easy for the edges to fade out to grey or yellow
  • Never, ever say ‘oh we can correct it in post’ – it’s much harder to do that than it sounds. We know if the drawing goes astray, it’s best to start again


At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Show our clients how we make their videos!

Making Corporate Animation

Clients often come to us with no idea how a corporate animation is made, what to expect of their animation company. When they see the first version, clients are surprised there’s little movement or design, everything is a bit simplistic. That’s because animation is an iterative process, with the details and complexity building with each version.

We created this short film to help people visualise and understand the process, so take 90 seconds out of your day and learn how we make our animations!

corporate animation

Discovery

We start with a Discovery Workshop, where we listen to your challenge, discuss your audience and identify your key messages. Our clients find this process exciting and very revealing!

Next, we work out how to communicate these in a memorable way and share this with you in a script. You’ll give your feedback on this, and we exchange drafts until we have the production script.

  Click here to contact us 

Then we draw a storyboard to help you visualise how the action will play out, and create a moodboard to show you what it will look like

Once you’re happy, we go into production.

 

nc workshop

What’s with the Octopus?

Production

First you’ll see an animatic, which is a basic version with a dummy voice over. Then we’ll start bringing in the style and making things move. You’ll be commenting on each version to help us refine it, until we’re adding nice flourishes that bring it all to life…

Interrogate

Sound

Once you’ve signed off the animation, we record the final voice over, mix in music and add sound effects. Sound effects are particularly important, they help the action you’re seeing feel more real.

Delivery

We bring this all together into your finished animation. You can see more of our corporate animation in our portfolio. If you’re interested in creating a corporate animation to help grow your business, get in touch.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
We created this video to help our clients understand how long it take to create an animation.

One question clients always ask us at Napoleon Creative is “How long will it take to make the animation?” They’re keen to know how long animation takes to produce so they can plan their marketing campaign.

What factors affect how long animation takes?

Here are five key variables which will affect the answer.

First, how clear your message is when you start working with us.

Some clients have a very clear idea of what they’re communicating, others need more time developing their ideas with us before we can really start writing on the script.

We can accelerate this with our Discovery Deck workshop.

Second, how well we know you as a client.

If you’re a new client, then it’ll take us a little while to get to know your brand – both in terms of your visual style and tone of voice.

The more work together, the quicker we’ll be able to come up with ideas that work for your brand.

Third, the complexity of the animation style. Word or icon based animations tend to be faster than character animation.

That said, if you’re adding more effects and 3D, it can take longer!

It’s all about getting the right look according to the time available and budget you’ve invested.

For example, one client came to us with a two-week deadline, which is tight for bid video production.

We needed a whole host of characters working in an office together, so we went for a modern, streamline style which meant we didn’t have to animate all their facial expressions.

The result was a cool and complex animation delivered in under a fortnight.

Fourth, the size of the team we allocate to your animation.

If you’re in a hurry, we can put more of our team members on the job.

This always makes it a little more complicated to manage, with people working on different parts of the animation at the same time, but we’re used to that.

And fifth, how quickly you can give us feedback on the work we’re doing.

Obviously we can only make changes and progress the animation if we know what you think of the work done so far!

We use a web-based, video review platform to ensure it’s simple for you to make comments and for us to action them.

Ideally, you’ll give us six weeks to make your animation. We won’t be working on your project the entire time, which means we can take a break from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

This always allows us to develop better ideas.

But if you’ve got a hard deadline, we’ve been known to turn around projects in under a week.

That’s because we have a mature, structured creative process, built over a decade of delivering great animations for our clients.

And we make sure between us that we’ve got the key things right:

So, those are the factors which determine how long it takes to make your animation.
If you need to know anything else, get in touch.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Capgemini,
Goal:
Communicate a complex offering in just two minutes, in a way that would resonate with the audience.

We’ve just delivered on a tight deadline video for one of our regular clients,  to explain their proposition to their potential client in a meeting. The call came on the Thursday. Could we deliver for Wednesday? We took a breath. And got to work.

 

Timeline of a Tight Deadline Video

Thursday

We got the call and an email with a PowerPoint that explained the proposition. I read through the materials, and got my head around what they were asking for. Cracked on with a first draft of the script, delivered by close of play.

 

Friday

I had a call with the stakeholders, and went through the script. They helped flesh out the details,  bringing in clarity to the bits I’d kind of made up. They also brought in technical terms that I didn’t know, but would show to their client they knew what they were talking about.

I then briefed Johnny, one of our illustrators, with the brush strokes of the story. We knew it was set on a train, so he started with a carriage and some people sitting on it! He decided to build the train in 3D in the first instance. When we needed other angles, he was able to rotate the 3D model and redraw.

 

 

From this schematic, he could then draw the carriage in his inimitable style.

 

 

 

I then worked on the script and sketched some quick storyboards.

 

Meanwhile, Simran then started working on some of the technical scenes, which would need some thought.

  Click here to contact us  

Johnny also worked on character development, from quick sketches…

 

 

…through to something more detailed. By the end of the day, we were able to show a few design and quick animations to the client to give them a flavour of what we were doing.

 

 

Weekend

Over the weekend, Johnny drew like crazy, creating layered art work so we could start work on Monday morning. I checked in with him regularly, to keep his work on target. It’s always nice to give an illustrator free reign, and see where their imagination gets to, but for this job we didn’t have time for him to stray too far from what I imagined. By Sunday night, we had the key scenes drawn up. Our tight deadline video was on schedule.

 

Monday

All hands on deck. First we went through the storyboards as a team, so we all knew what we’re doing. Simran and Yair started working on the animation. Johnny carried on designing, with new builds. One thing we were clear on; we knew we want to add more details to the scenes but the priority was to get all of them complete in a simple form. Then we can look at how much time we have to finesse.

We got the first assembly complete just after lunch. All scenes were in there, even if they’re just stills. Another script call, and we get the script signed off. They reviewed the first assembly and we started on the changes. We made sure everyone in the NC team notes all the changes, as a change in one scene can have an impact on later ones.

I headed to the voice over record at 5. With the tight turnaround, I’d offered my services as the voice, to save having to cast a voice artist, and I know the script well. So by 5.45 I’d left the booth and I’m cycling back, while the chosen takes were whizzing back to the studio via WeTransfer.

Johnny finished up his designs, having added a cast of thousands to the train scenes. Simran and Yair stayed on late, tweaking the animations. I started adding my voice to the timeline. By 8pm, we’re sending the client a really sturdy version for their comments. Oh, and we prepared the sound files, so Joel can start building the sound effects overnight.

 

Tuesday

We were back in the studio super early. We had more client changes, all fairly straight forward. We were now at the stage where we could sprinkle on a little more magic, adding a few more facial expressions and speed lines outside the train window. We used a great Deadpool camera plug in on the train scenes, which gives the carriage interior shots the feeling that you’re on the train with the characters. We had whole conversations about what kind of people travel on trains and why are they on their journey, which means we add suitcases and dogs in the aisle, newspapers and all sorts.

The client signed off on a version around 2pm, so we know we’ve delivered what they need. We now have the rest of the afternoon and evening to surprise them with a little more sparkle still. We start working on the extras – giving them a bit more movement in the background, adding more each scene.

Late afternoon, Joel delivered the sound files, with voice over, music and sound effects  all mixed nicely together. We bit off more than we could chew on one scene, which ended up taking way longer than we planned.

We delivered the final file around 6.30 pm, which the clients love. Plenty of new details, some they might not even have noticed, but all of which add to the feel of quality of the film.

 

So that’s how we achieved a tight deadline video. I have to say that I was super impressed by what the Napoleon Creative team pulled together, in such a short time. I think setting it on a train was a great idea, as it’s an environment we all know and relate to. This made it easy for us to make it feel very real quickly. It also helps that over the decade of making animation, we’ve got our process down, and can quickly jump on a project. So if you have a tight deadline video, you know who to call!

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Goal:

If you’re giving a presentation to camera, a teleprompter can really help you deliver a great performance. But it’s not as simple as putting the script on the machine and hitting go. I’ve worked with a range of presenters using a teleprompter, from CEOs of worldwide organisations to founders of start ups. In this article I’m going to give you my key teleprompter tips to getting the best performance.

Want to know more about interview filming styles?

 

My Teleprompter Tips

The first place to start is with the script. When people write their first draft, it’s often in a very ‘written’ tone of voice. For example “we will” and “it is”. When we speak we automatically truncate these words, so putting the shortened form in the script will make it easier to read, and sound a lot more natural.

The next thing is to look at where your sentences land. By this, I mean to put the key word at the end of the sentence. So rather than saying:

“Cloud services are what the client will typically choose.”

Move the cloud services to the end, so it makes it easier to emphasis that word:

“Typically a client will choose cloud services”

If your presentation is longer than 90 seconds, I recommend finding points where you can break the presentation, so it can be filmed in chunks. To avoid a jump cut like this, we can either:

  • change the shot size.
  • plan full screen graphics that can cover any breaks
  • change locations

Whichever trick you choose, it’ll mean you don’t have to get a ten minute take that perfect!

Looking good on camera

Teleprompter tips

Before start, we’ll offer you a little make up. We use Clinique’s invisible matte powder. It leaves no colour, but takes out the shine from the lights. Particular handy for those with receding hairlines.

We also use Garnier surf hair, which is a light paste that will flatten stray hairs, which get caught in the light.

Working with the Teleprompter

These next teleprompter tips are about actually reading from the screen. When we start filming, there will be a pause before the script starts rolling. This allows us to settle the framing and focus. At this point, just give a big smile into camera. You’ll feel silly and awkward. But it means we can cut at exactly the right moment for the start of the video.

As the words roll up the screen, keep your eyes on this section of the screen. Hopefully you’ll just be able to see the lens. This’ll keep you looking directly to camera.

teleprompter tips

It’ll take a few run throughs for us to set the teleprompter at the right font size and speed for you. And we’re here to be your audience – we’ll let you know if you’re speaking too fast or slow.

When presenters first use a teleprompter, their voice performance can be good, but because they’re not looking at a human being, they forget to use facial expressions. This means even though they’re getting it right in terms of the way the script sounds, the visual performance can look flat.

So as awkward as it might seem, imagine the camera is a person. Use those nods, smiles and eyebrow raises that you would naturally. Don’t worry about going over the top – if your performance starts to look too much, we’ll suggest you bring it down again.

When you’ve finished a take, it’s natural to look up at the camera team to see how you did. Instead gentle smile and keep looking to camera. We won’t say cut for 10 seconds, again to give us a handle for editing.

So those are my telepompter tips. If you’re looking to give a presentation to camera then give us a call at Napoleon Creative and let us help you make it effortless and slick.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

What’s the difference between ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ Filming Styles

We’re often asked for our advice on interview filming styles, that is whether a client should be facing the camera or facing off camera when giving an interview. For us, it’s very much a question of the context of who they’re talking to, and what their message is.

In this article you will discover about ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ interview filming styles for documentary interviews, direct to camera interviews, and other interview shooting styles.


Off Camera Interview Styles

If you are giving a direct message to a group of people, then looking ‘to camera’ or straight into the lens is ideal. This might be for someone filming a video message because they can’t make an event, a business leader talking to their staff about a particular issue, or appealing directly to potential investors. However, if your message is more factual, for example, as part of a brand story video, then it’s better to film off camera, as though talking to an interviewer off camera, which is a more documentary style. This style feels more natural and spontaneous.

Documentary Video Interview Styles

Interview Filming Styles Explained

To Camera

  • Speaker is looking straight into the camera lens

  • Comes across as direct as though the person is speaking directly to the viewer

  • Some speakers find that talking to the lens can feel awkward

  • You can easily use auto cue for the content

  • You can use kit like EyeDirect to make it easier to get people to talk into the lens

Off Camera

  • Speaker is looking just to the side of the camera

  • It feels like they’re talking to someone stood next to the camera, even if you don’t hear their questions

  • The sense of ‘eavesdropping’ a conversation makes it feel more real and credible

  • Very traditional documentary style

  • You can still mount an autocue off to the side of the camera to help with content

Recently, Cawstons Press commissioned us to create a video for potential investors. These are  traditional done with the speakers talking directly to camera, to really engage the individual watching. We recommended creating a brand story video, which would be form the same footage, but this would be off camera. So we ended up filming from both angles simultaneously.

This meant we could edit the piece once, but export as two different styles of film, one to camera, one off. We also edited the content slightly, removing specific references to investment for the brand story film. This meant that our client got the best ROI on the investment in video production, something we always help our clients achieve.

Watch more of our corporate documentaries

 


Start your project



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
To show our Clients how to prepare for filming at their premises.

We film a lot of interviews and testimonial video content for our clients and they often ask “What do I need to know about filming in my office?” While all locations are different, there are some key things we’ll need to make the shoot go smoothly. So here’s our quick FAQ guide to interview filming logistics.

Napoleon Creative’s Guide to Interview Filming Logistics

What size room do I book for filming?

We suggest a board room that can seat at least 8-10 people. This means we’ll have plenty of space to give space around the contributor, set up lighting. When thinking about interview filming styles, if it’s an off camera interview you’ll need a good 2-3 metres between the interviewer and interviewee. It’s helpful if the table in the room can be moved. Windows to the outside world can be a challenge, depending on the weather. If it’s cloudy, with the sun going in and out, it can make each take look different! So ideally, the lighting can be controlled. It’s great if we can turn off the air conditioning in that room as well.

 

How long does it take to get set up for corporate interview filming?

show thought leadership

It can take us an hour to get into some corporate building, between dropping the kit and parking, then getting through security and up to the room. We also need an hour once we’re in the room, so we can pick up the shots and set up the lights. So we always make our call time two hours before the interview needs to start.

 

How long do you need to film an interview?

For a typical 3 minute film, we usually interview for 20-30 mins. However, we need a little extra time to get the contributor settled, tweak the lights to them, and get them warmed up. We also like film a little B-Roll, which takes another 10-15 minutes. So we tell our clients to tell the contributor it’ll take an hour out of their diary, then when they get out early they feel they’ve got a bonus ten minutes in their day!

 

What is B-Roll?

B-Roll is the additional footage of the contributor and location that we edit with the footage, as you can see in this client testimonial footage. We film for 10-15 minutes with the client, ideally in 5-6 different scenarios, such as looking at their laptop, talking to clients, or smiling to camera. Ideally the contributor is interacting with other people in several shots.

We tend to use only a few seconds of each, but these shots make a huge difference to the finished piece.

When do you film location shots?

We usually find time within the shoot to film location shots. These might be establishing shots of the building, or logos on the reception wall. We also shoot generic office shots, without anyone clearly in shot. Note that with shared buildings, where a company say only hires a floor, rather than the whole building, you may not be able take shots of the shared areas of the building.

 

Who should I tell that we’re filming?

testimonial video

First off, you’ll need to tell security and reception to ensure we can get into the building. For some companies, it’s good to notify press and publicity, as they like to be aware of what’s being recorded. It’s really important to warn the staff that filming is taking place. We suggest an email to the department where filming is taking place, plus putting A4 posters up on the wall. Anyone who doesn’t want to be filmed can tell us, and we’ll avoid getting them on camera.

 

How long should I schedule for the filming?

An ideal schedule would be something like this:

08:00 Arrive on site, get through reception and our kit into the building. Park van if necessary, and get to the room

09:00 Set up the room with lights

10:00 First interview – then allow 40 minutes between each interview, plus a B-Roll

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Continue filming

16:00 Last interview

17:00 Finish filming, get kit out of the room

18:00 Return to base

How long before we can see an edit?

This is one of the first questions we get asked! It largely depends on the type of interview. Cutting down to an initial sequence doesn’t take long, and we can show you that usually the next day. How long it takes to complete the whole film depends on the number of people filmed and how urgently you need it!

So those are the key things to know about interview filming logistics. Hopefully that’s made things a little easier for you!



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Cawston Press,
Services:
Goal:
Communicate the brand story through video and animation.

Our clients are often a little worried when they first see the rushes of our films. They come out really quite… grey. That’s why we’ve created this short grading showreel, to show you what’s possible! What you see below left is the footage as shot, and on the right after it’s been graded.

Grading showreel comparison

This project was for Cawston Press, who have such a distinctive branding. It’s all about bright primary colours against crisp whites. Bringing that same quality out in the footage we shot was key.

Grading is one of the most fun jobs in film making is the grade. Once you’ve got all the shots edited down, it’s time to colour balance them to make them look their best, and also create a consistent look across the film. When filming we shot projects like this in Log, which means as much data from the camera’s sensors are kept in the file. When we take this file into the edit, we can play around with the colours as well like. For this one we went to Coda Post Production, and got their usual warm welcome and highly slick service.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Infosys,
Goal:
Capture a compelling testimonial that will show the benefits of working with our client.

On Tuesday we bombed up to Cardiff film to a client testimonial video for Infosys, a consulting, IT services and digital transformation company. Infosys wanted to show the video at an Expo two days later, so we had a really tight turnaround.

In the video, Peter talks about the amazing transformation Infosys has brought about in the IT department of Welsh Water. Thanks to their Enterprise Services Management Café, the companies could rapidly deploy new IT solutions with little disruption to the business. Hearing Peter speak, you realise just how successful the project has been. He gave us a great deal of time, and tolerated us filming lots of B-roll.

B Roll really brings a Client Testimonial Video to Life

B-roll comes from the Hollywood tradition of having two camera crews, the A team who film the main action, and a B team who cover the ‘pick ups’. This might be establishing shots, a second angle on the scene, or maybe a close up of an object mentioned by the actors. In today’s world, it largely means shots that don’t have dialogue, which can be used to cover cuts in the interview.

Client testimonial video

We filmed Peter having meetings or discussions with his various teams. One tip when filming them is to always talk about work. If you start to talk about football, your holiday or the weather, the reactions you get don’t look right!

We filmed the interview in 4k, even though we were delivered on standard HD. The advantage of this is that you can crop in to the 4k image, and it still look great in HD. When you’re only filming on one camera, it means you can change the shot size in the interview.

 

Find out how a testimonial video can help your company

 

Modern technology also allows great flexibility on the editing front. With the latest Adobe Premiere, you can create ‘proxy files’ from the 4K footage. That means that basically you’re editing a low resolution version of the project. Even my old 11″ Macbook Air could cope with the footage! I set up in my seat on the train back, and started to cut together then b-roll. When back at the office, I could whizz through the interview and had the first cut if the client testimonial video to them by 7pm. Now that’s a fast turnaround!

Client testimonial video

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Explaining how we make whiteboard animation

Making Whiteboard animation

We start the process the same way we do with any other animation. We run a Discovery Workshop to clarify your ideas and messaging. We then write a script and support it with a storyboard, so you can see how the video will progress. We then build an animatic, a simple version with static images appear to a dummy voice over, read by one of our team. We deliver several iterations of this, until you’re happy we’ve got the story right

Watch how we make an animation

whiteboard animation benefitsOnce you’ve signed it off, we go into the studio. As you can see from the clip above, we need a lot of space to get the lighting right! The trick is to balance getting enough light on the board to make it appear bright and clean, without losing the details of the illustrator’s skin tone and texture.

However, do you want to know the most important thing when filming a whiteboard animation? A really heavy table at the right height! This is so the illustrator can draw comfortably, but so that the board stays still while filming.

We set up a laptop on the table with the animatic, so the illustrator can look at what they need to draw. We look at the image being filmed, and then set out markers to show the edge of the screen. This helps them keep their drawings within the frame. You’ll spot there’s also a monitor, so they can see what’s being filmed.

We film everything in 4k, an ultrahigh video resolution, which means we can zoom in and crop the images if we need to. For example, we might zoom in to a small section in close up to watch a detail being drawn, then zoom out to reveal the master image.

Dos and Don’ts of Whiteboard Animations

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to making a great whiteboard animation

  • Always use a real hand drawing, not just a static image of a hand then just move it on screen
  • Rather than creating lots of individual images to make each point, try to make them build into a larger image
  • Don’t make your illustrations too literal. We’ve been known to throw in penguins and parrots to keep even the driest whiteboard animation fun!
  • Be sure to change colour to add interest, but don’t fake it. We’ve seen animations using a fake hand to draw a full colour photo with a single black pen! Keep it real.
  • If you want to include a photo, print it on card, and slide it on to the board.
  • In fact, we encourage clients to add different textures to the video, like the paper cut outs on this whiteboard explainer we made for WarwickNet, which can add movement to the piece
  • Use a freshly cleaned whiteboard, with very few nicks. We find the cream kitchen cleaners are the best for lifting off old ink.
  • Colour grade the video in post-production so the white space is really white, it’s easy for the edges to fade out to grey or yellow
  • Never, ever say ‘oh we can correct it in post’ – it’s much harder to do that than it sounds. We know if the drawing goes astray, it’s best to start again


At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Show our clients how we make their videos!

Making Corporate Animation

Clients often come to us with no idea how a corporate animation is made, what to expect of their animation company. When they see the first version, clients are surprised there’s little movement or design, everything is a bit simplistic. That’s because animation is an iterative process, with the details and complexity building with each version.

We created this short film to help people visualise and understand the process, so take 90 seconds out of your day and learn how we make our animations!

corporate animation

Discovery

We start with a Discovery Workshop, where we listen to your challenge, discuss your audience and identify your key messages. Our clients find this process exciting and very revealing!

Next, we work out how to communicate these in a memorable way and share this with you in a script. You’ll give your feedback on this, and we exchange drafts until we have the production script.

  Click here to contact us 

Then we draw a storyboard to help you visualise how the action will play out, and create a moodboard to show you what it will look like

Once you’re happy, we go into production.

 

nc workshop

What’s with the Octopus?

Production

First you’ll see an animatic, which is a basic version with a dummy voice over. Then we’ll start bringing in the style and making things move. You’ll be commenting on each version to help us refine it, until we’re adding nice flourishes that bring it all to life…

Interrogate

Sound

Once you’ve signed off the animation, we record the final voice over, mix in music and add sound effects. Sound effects are particularly important, they help the action you’re seeing feel more real.

Delivery

We bring this all together into your finished animation. You can see more of our corporate animation in our portfolio. If you’re interested in creating a corporate animation to help grow your business, get in touch.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
We created this video to help our clients understand how long it take to create an animation.

One question clients always ask us at Napoleon Creative is “How long will it take to make the animation?” They’re keen to know how long animation takes to produce so they can plan their marketing campaign.

What factors affect how long animation takes?

Here are five key variables which will affect the answer.

First, how clear your message is when you start working with us.

Some clients have a very clear idea of what they’re communicating, others need more time developing their ideas with us before we can really start writing on the script.

We can accelerate this with our Discovery Deck workshop.

Second, how well we know you as a client.

If you’re a new client, then it’ll take us a little while to get to know your brand – both in terms of your visual style and tone of voice.

The more work together, the quicker we’ll be able to come up with ideas that work for your brand.

Third, the complexity of the animation style. Word or icon based animations tend to be faster than character animation.

That said, if you’re adding more effects and 3D, it can take longer!

It’s all about getting the right look according to the time available and budget you’ve invested.

For example, one client came to us with a two-week deadline, which is tight for bid video production.

We needed a whole host of characters working in an office together, so we went for a modern, streamline style which meant we didn’t have to animate all their facial expressions.

The result was a cool and complex animation delivered in under a fortnight.

Fourth, the size of the team we allocate to your animation.

If you’re in a hurry, we can put more of our team members on the job.

This always makes it a little more complicated to manage, with people working on different parts of the animation at the same time, but we’re used to that.

And fifth, how quickly you can give us feedback on the work we’re doing.

Obviously we can only make changes and progress the animation if we know what you think of the work done so far!

We use a web-based, video review platform to ensure it’s simple for you to make comments and for us to action them.

Ideally, you’ll give us six weeks to make your animation. We won’t be working on your project the entire time, which means we can take a break from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

This always allows us to develop better ideas.

But if you’ve got a hard deadline, we’ve been known to turn around projects in under a week.

That’s because we have a mature, structured creative process, built over a decade of delivering great animations for our clients.

And we make sure between us that we’ve got the key things right:

So, those are the factors which determine how long it takes to make your animation.
If you need to know anything else, get in touch.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Capgemini,
Goal:
Communicate a complex offering in just two minutes, in a way that would resonate with the audience.

We’ve just delivered on a tight deadline video for one of our regular clients,  to explain their proposition to their potential client in a meeting. The call came on the Thursday. Could we deliver for Wednesday? We took a breath. And got to work.

 

Timeline of a Tight Deadline Video

Thursday

We got the call and an email with a PowerPoint that explained the proposition. I read through the materials, and got my head around what they were asking for. Cracked on with a first draft of the script, delivered by close of play.

 

Friday

I had a call with the stakeholders, and went through the script. They helped flesh out the details,  bringing in clarity to the bits I’d kind of made up. They also brought in technical terms that I didn’t know, but would show to their client they knew what they were talking about.

I then briefed Johnny, one of our illustrators, with the brush strokes of the story. We knew it was set on a train, so he started with a carriage and some people sitting on it! He decided to build the train in 3D in the first instance. When we needed other angles, he was able to rotate the 3D model and redraw.

 

 

From this schematic, he could then draw the carriage in his inimitable style.

 

 

 

I then worked on the script and sketched some quick storyboards.

 

Meanwhile, Simran then started working on some of the technical scenes, which would need some thought.

  Click here to contact us  

Johnny also worked on character development, from quick sketches…

 

 

…through to something more detailed. By the end of the day, we were able to show a few design and quick animations to the client to give them a flavour of what we were doing.

 

 

Weekend

Over the weekend, Johnny drew like crazy, creating layered art work so we could start work on Monday morning. I checked in with him regularly, to keep his work on target. It’s always nice to give an illustrator free reign, and see where their imagination gets to, but for this job we didn’t have time for him to stray too far from what I imagined. By Sunday night, we had the key scenes drawn up. Our tight deadline video was on schedule.

 

Monday

All hands on deck. First we went through the storyboards as a team, so we all knew what we’re doing. Simran and Yair started working on the animation. Johnny carried on designing, with new builds. One thing we were clear on; we knew we want to add more details to the scenes but the priority was to get all of them complete in a simple form. Then we can look at how much time we have to finesse.

We got the first assembly complete just after lunch. All scenes were in there, even if they’re just stills. Another script call, and we get the script signed off. They reviewed the first assembly and we started on the changes. We made sure everyone in the NC team notes all the changes, as a change in one scene can have an impact on later ones.

I headed to the voice over record at 5. With the tight turnaround, I’d offered my services as the voice, to save having to cast a voice artist, and I know the script well. So by 5.45 I’d left the booth and I’m cycling back, while the chosen takes were whizzing back to the studio via WeTransfer.

Johnny finished up his designs, having added a cast of thousands to the train scenes. Simran and Yair stayed on late, tweaking the animations. I started adding my voice to the timeline. By 8pm, we’re sending the client a really sturdy version for their comments. Oh, and we prepared the sound files, so Joel can start building the sound effects overnight.

 

Tuesday

We were back in the studio super early. We had more client changes, all fairly straight forward. We were now at the stage where we could sprinkle on a little more magic, adding a few more facial expressions and speed lines outside the train window. We used a great Deadpool camera plug in on the train scenes, which gives the carriage interior shots the feeling that you’re on the train with the characters. We had whole conversations about what kind of people travel on trains and why are they on their journey, which means we add suitcases and dogs in the aisle, newspapers and all sorts.

The client signed off on a version around 2pm, so we know we’ve delivered what they need. We now have the rest of the afternoon and evening to surprise them with a little more sparkle still. We start working on the extras – giving them a bit more movement in the background, adding more each scene.

Late afternoon, Joel delivered the sound files, with voice over, music and sound effects  all mixed nicely together. We bit off more than we could chew on one scene, which ended up taking way longer than we planned.

We delivered the final file around 6.30 pm, which the clients love. Plenty of new details, some they might not even have noticed, but all of which add to the feel of quality of the film.

 

So that’s how we achieved a tight deadline video. I have to say that I was super impressed by what the Napoleon Creative team pulled together, in such a short time. I think setting it on a train was a great idea, as it’s an environment we all know and relate to. This made it easy for us to make it feel very real quickly. It also helps that over the decade of making animation, we’ve got our process down, and can quickly jump on a project. So if you have a tight deadline video, you know who to call!

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Goal:

If you’re giving a presentation to camera, a teleprompter can really help you deliver a great performance. But it’s not as simple as putting the script on the machine and hitting go. I’ve worked with a range of presenters using a teleprompter, from CEOs of worldwide organisations to founders of start ups. In this article I’m going to give you my key teleprompter tips to getting the best performance.

Want to know more about interview filming styles?

 

My Teleprompter Tips

The first place to start is with the script. When people write their first draft, it’s often in a very ‘written’ tone of voice. For example “we will” and “it is”. When we speak we automatically truncate these words, so putting the shortened form in the script will make it easier to read, and sound a lot more natural.

The next thing is to look at where your sentences land. By this, I mean to put the key word at the end of the sentence. So rather than saying:

“Cloud services are what the client will typically choose.”

Move the cloud services to the end, so it makes it easier to emphasis that word:

“Typically a client will choose cloud services”

If your presentation is longer than 90 seconds, I recommend finding points where you can break the presentation, so it can be filmed in chunks. To avoid a jump cut like this, we can either:

  • change the shot size.
  • plan full screen graphics that can cover any breaks
  • change locations

Whichever trick you choose, it’ll mean you don’t have to get a ten minute take that perfect!

Looking good on camera

Teleprompter tips

Before start, we’ll offer you a little make up. We use Clinique’s invisible matte powder. It leaves no colour, but takes out the shine from the lights. Particular handy for those with receding hairlines.

We also use Garnier surf hair, which is a light paste that will flatten stray hairs, which get caught in the light.

Working with the Teleprompter

These next teleprompter tips are about actually reading from the screen. When we start filming, there will be a pause before the script starts rolling. This allows us to settle the framing and focus. At this point, just give a big smile into camera. You’ll feel silly and awkward. But it means we can cut at exactly the right moment for the start of the video.

As the words roll up the screen, keep your eyes on this section of the screen. Hopefully you’ll just be able to see the lens. This’ll keep you looking directly to camera.

teleprompter tips

It’ll take a few run throughs for us to set the teleprompter at the right font size and speed for you. And we’re here to be your audience – we’ll let you know if you’re speaking too fast or slow.

When presenters first use a teleprompter, their voice performance can be good, but because they’re not looking at a human being, they forget to use facial expressions. This means even though they’re getting it right in terms of the way the script sounds, the visual performance can look flat.

So as awkward as it might seem, imagine the camera is a person. Use those nods, smiles and eyebrow raises that you would naturally. Don’t worry about going over the top – if your performance starts to look too much, we’ll suggest you bring it down again.

When you’ve finished a take, it’s natural to look up at the camera team to see how you did. Instead gentle smile and keep looking to camera. We won’t say cut for 10 seconds, again to give us a handle for editing.

So those are my telepompter tips. If you’re looking to give a presentation to camera then give us a call at Napoleon Creative and let us help you make it effortless and slick.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

What’s the difference between ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ Filming Styles

We’re often asked for our advice on interview filming styles, that is whether a client should be facing the camera or facing off camera when giving an interview. For us, it’s very much a question of the context of who they’re talking to, and what their message is.

In this article you will discover about ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ interview filming styles for documentary interviews, direct to camera interviews, and other interview shooting styles.


Off Camera Interview Styles

If you are giving a direct message to a group of people, then looking ‘to camera’ or straight into the lens is ideal. This might be for someone filming a video message because they can’t make an event, a business leader talking to their staff about a particular issue, or appealing directly to potential investors. However, if your message is more factual, for example, as part of a brand story video, then it’s better to film off camera, as though talking to an interviewer off camera, which is a more documentary style. This style feels more natural and spontaneous.

Documentary Video Interview Styles

Interview Filming Styles Explained

To Camera

  • Speaker is looking straight into the camera lens

  • Comes across as direct as though the person is speaking directly to the viewer

  • Some speakers find that talking to the lens can feel awkward

  • You can easily use auto cue for the content

  • You can use kit like EyeDirect to make it easier to get people to talk into the lens

Off Camera

  • Speaker is looking just to the side of the camera

  • It feels like they’re talking to someone stood next to the camera, even if you don’t hear their questions

  • The sense of ‘eavesdropping’ a conversation makes it feel more real and credible

  • Very traditional documentary style

  • You can still mount an autocue off to the side of the camera to help with content

Recently, Cawstons Press commissioned us to create a video for potential investors. These are  traditional done with the speakers talking directly to camera, to really engage the individual watching. We recommended creating a brand story video, which would be form the same footage, but this would be off camera. So we ended up filming from both angles simultaneously.

This meant we could edit the piece once, but export as two different styles of film, one to camera, one off. We also edited the content slightly, removing specific references to investment for the brand story film. This meant that our client got the best ROI on the investment in video production, something we always help our clients achieve.

Watch more of our corporate documentaries

 


Start your project



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
To show our Clients how to prepare for filming at their premises.

We film a lot of interviews and testimonial video content for our clients and they often ask “What do I need to know about filming in my office?” While all locations are different, there are some key things we’ll need to make the shoot go smoothly. So here’s our quick FAQ guide to interview filming logistics.

Napoleon Creative’s Guide to Interview Filming Logistics

What size room do I book for filming?

We suggest a board room that can seat at least 8-10 people. This means we’ll have plenty of space to give space around the contributor, set up lighting. When thinking about interview filming styles, if it’s an off camera interview you’ll need a good 2-3 metres between the interviewer and interviewee. It’s helpful if the table in the room can be moved. Windows to the outside world can be a challenge, depending on the weather. If it’s cloudy, with the sun going in and out, it can make each take look different! So ideally, the lighting can be controlled. It’s great if we can turn off the air conditioning in that room as well.

 

How long does it take to get set up for corporate interview filming?

show thought leadership

It can take us an hour to get into some corporate building, between dropping the kit and parking, then getting through security and up to the room. We also need an hour once we’re in the room, so we can pick up the shots and set up the lights. So we always make our call time two hours before the interview needs to start.

 

How long do you need to film an interview?

For a typical 3 minute film, we usually interview for 20-30 mins. However, we need a little extra time to get the contributor settled, tweak the lights to them, and get them warmed up. We also like film a little B-Roll, which takes another 10-15 minutes. So we tell our clients to tell the contributor it’ll take an hour out of their diary, then when they get out early they feel they’ve got a bonus ten minutes in their day!

 

What is B-Roll?

B-Roll is the additional footage of the contributor and location that we edit with the footage, as you can see in this client testimonial footage. We film for 10-15 minutes with the client, ideally in 5-6 different scenarios, such as looking at their laptop, talking to clients, or smiling to camera. Ideally the contributor is interacting with other people in several shots.

We tend to use only a few seconds of each, but these shots make a huge difference to the finished piece.

When do you film location shots?

We usually find time within the shoot to film location shots. These might be establishing shots of the building, or logos on the reception wall. We also shoot generic office shots, without anyone clearly in shot. Note that with shared buildings, where a company say only hires a floor, rather than the whole building, you may not be able take shots of the shared areas of the building.

 

Who should I tell that we’re filming?

testimonial video

First off, you’ll need to tell security and reception to ensure we can get into the building. For some companies, it’s good to notify press and publicity, as they like to be aware of what’s being recorded. It’s really important to warn the staff that filming is taking place. We suggest an email to the department where filming is taking place, plus putting A4 posters up on the wall. Anyone who doesn’t want to be filmed can tell us, and we’ll avoid getting them on camera.

 

How long should I schedule for the filming?

An ideal schedule would be something like this:

08:00 Arrive on site, get through reception and our kit into the building. Park van if necessary, and get to the room

09:00 Set up the room with lights

10:00 First interview – then allow 40 minutes between each interview, plus a B-Roll

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Continue filming

16:00 Last interview

17:00 Finish filming, get kit out of the room

18:00 Return to base

How long before we can see an edit?

This is one of the first questions we get asked! It largely depends on the type of interview. Cutting down to an initial sequence doesn’t take long, and we can show you that usually the next day. How long it takes to complete the whole film depends on the number of people filmed and how urgently you need it!

So those are the key things to know about interview filming logistics. Hopefully that’s made things a little easier for you!



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Cawston Press,
Services:
Goal:
Communicate the brand story through video and animation.

Our clients are often a little worried when they first see the rushes of our films. They come out really quite… grey. That’s why we’ve created this short grading showreel, to show you what’s possible! What you see below left is the footage as shot, and on the right after it’s been graded.

Grading showreel comparison

This project was for Cawston Press, who have such a distinctive branding. It’s all about bright primary colours against crisp whites. Bringing that same quality out in the footage we shot was key.

Grading is one of the most fun jobs in film making is the grade. Once you’ve got all the shots edited down, it’s time to colour balance them to make them look their best, and also create a consistent look across the film. When filming we shot projects like this in Log, which means as much data from the camera’s sensors are kept in the file. When we take this file into the edit, we can play around with the colours as well like. For this one we went to Coda Post Production, and got their usual warm welcome and highly slick service.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Infosys,
Goal:
Capture a compelling testimonial that will show the benefits of working with our client.

On Tuesday we bombed up to Cardiff film to a client testimonial video for Infosys, a consulting, IT services and digital transformation company. Infosys wanted to show the video at an Expo two days later, so we had a really tight turnaround.

In the video, Peter talks about the amazing transformation Infosys has brought about in the IT department of Welsh Water. Thanks to their Enterprise Services Management Café, the companies could rapidly deploy new IT solutions with little disruption to the business. Hearing Peter speak, you realise just how successful the project has been. He gave us a great deal of time, and tolerated us filming lots of B-roll.

B Roll really brings a Client Testimonial Video to Life

B-roll comes from the Hollywood tradition of having two camera crews, the A team who film the main action, and a B team who cover the ‘pick ups’. This might be establishing shots, a second angle on the scene, or maybe a close up of an object mentioned by the actors. In today’s world, it largely means shots that don’t have dialogue, which can be used to cover cuts in the interview.

Client testimonial video

We filmed Peter having meetings or discussions with his various teams. One tip when filming them is to always talk about work. If you start to talk about football, your holiday or the weather, the reactions you get don’t look right!

We filmed the interview in 4k, even though we were delivered on standard HD. The advantage of this is that you can crop in to the 4k image, and it still look great in HD. When you’re only filming on one camera, it means you can change the shot size in the interview.

 

Find out how a testimonial video can help your company

 

Modern technology also allows great flexibility on the editing front. With the latest Adobe Premiere, you can create ‘proxy files’ from the 4K footage. That means that basically you’re editing a low resolution version of the project. Even my old 11″ Macbook Air could cope with the footage! I set up in my seat on the train back, and started to cut together then b-roll. When back at the office, I could whizz through the interview and had the first cut if the client testimonial video to them by 7pm. Now that’s a fast turnaround!

Client testimonial video

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Explaining how we make whiteboard animation

Making Whiteboard animation

We start the process the same way we do with any other animation. We run a Discovery Workshop to clarify your ideas and messaging. We then write a script and support it with a storyboard, so you can see how the video will progress. We then build an animatic, a simple version with static images appear to a dummy voice over, read by one of our team. We deliver several iterations of this, until you’re happy we’ve got the story right

Watch how we make an animation

whiteboard animation benefitsOnce you’ve signed it off, we go into the studio. As you can see from the clip above, we need a lot of space to get the lighting right! The trick is to balance getting enough light on the board to make it appear bright and clean, without losing the details of the illustrator’s skin tone and texture.

However, do you want to know the most important thing when filming a whiteboard animation? A really heavy table at the right height! This is so the illustrator can draw comfortably, but so that the board stays still while filming.

We set up a laptop on the table with the animatic, so the illustrator can look at what they need to draw. We look at the image being filmed, and then set out markers to show the edge of the screen. This helps them keep their drawings within the frame. You’ll spot there’s also a monitor, so they can see what’s being filmed.

We film everything in 4k, an ultrahigh video resolution, which means we can zoom in and crop the images if we need to. For example, we might zoom in to a small section in close up to watch a detail being drawn, then zoom out to reveal the master image.

Dos and Don’ts of Whiteboard Animations

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to making a great whiteboard animation

  • Always use a real hand drawing, not just a static image of a hand then just move it on screen
  • Rather than creating lots of individual images to make each point, try to make them build into a larger image
  • Don’t make your illustrations too literal. We’ve been known to throw in penguins and parrots to keep even the driest whiteboard animation fun!
  • Be sure to change colour to add interest, but don’t fake it. We’ve seen animations using a fake hand to draw a full colour photo with a single black pen! Keep it real.
  • If you want to include a photo, print it on card, and slide it on to the board.
  • In fact, we encourage clients to add different textures to the video, like the paper cut outs on this whiteboard explainer we made for WarwickNet, which can add movement to the piece
  • Use a freshly cleaned whiteboard, with very few nicks. We find the cream kitchen cleaners are the best for lifting off old ink.
  • Colour grade the video in post-production so the white space is really white, it’s easy for the edges to fade out to grey or yellow
  • Never, ever say ‘oh we can correct it in post’ – it’s much harder to do that than it sounds. We know if the drawing goes astray, it’s best to start again


At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Show our clients how we make their videos!

Making Corporate Animation

Clients often come to us with no idea how a corporate animation is made, what to expect of their animation company. When they see the first version, clients are surprised there’s little movement or design, everything is a bit simplistic. That’s because animation is an iterative process, with the details and complexity building with each version.

We created this short film to help people visualise and understand the process, so take 90 seconds out of your day and learn how we make our animations!

corporate animation

Discovery

We start with a Discovery Workshop, where we listen to your challenge, discuss your audience and identify your key messages. Our clients find this process exciting and very revealing!

Next, we work out how to communicate these in a memorable way and share this with you in a script. You’ll give your feedback on this, and we exchange drafts until we have the production script.

  Click here to contact us 

Then we draw a storyboard to help you visualise how the action will play out, and create a moodboard to show you what it will look like

Once you’re happy, we go into production.

 

nc workshop

What’s with the Octopus?

Production

First you’ll see an animatic, which is a basic version with a dummy voice over. Then we’ll start bringing in the style and making things move. You’ll be commenting on each version to help us refine it, until we’re adding nice flourishes that bring it all to life…

Interrogate

Sound

Once you’ve signed off the animation, we record the final voice over, mix in music and add sound effects. Sound effects are particularly important, they help the action you’re seeing feel more real.

Delivery

We bring this all together into your finished animation. You can see more of our corporate animation in our portfolio. If you’re interested in creating a corporate animation to help grow your business, get in touch.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
We created this video to help our clients understand how long it take to create an animation.

One question clients always ask us at Napoleon Creative is “How long will it take to make the animation?” They’re keen to know how long animation takes to produce so they can plan their marketing campaign.

What factors affect how long animation takes?

Here are five key variables which will affect the answer.

First, how clear your message is when you start working with us.

Some clients have a very clear idea of what they’re communicating, others need more time developing their ideas with us before we can really start writing on the script.

We can accelerate this with our Discovery Deck workshop.

Second, how well we know you as a client.

If you’re a new client, then it’ll take us a little while to get to know your brand – both in terms of your visual style and tone of voice.

The more work together, the quicker we’ll be able to come up with ideas that work for your brand.

Third, the complexity of the animation style. Word or icon based animations tend to be faster than character animation.

That said, if you’re adding more effects and 3D, it can take longer!

It’s all about getting the right look according to the time available and budget you’ve invested.

For example, one client came to us with a two-week deadline, which is tight for bid video production.

We needed a whole host of characters working in an office together, so we went for a modern, streamline style which meant we didn’t have to animate all their facial expressions.

The result was a cool and complex animation delivered in under a fortnight.

Fourth, the size of the team we allocate to your animation.

If you’re in a hurry, we can put more of our team members on the job.

This always makes it a little more complicated to manage, with people working on different parts of the animation at the same time, but we’re used to that.

And fifth, how quickly you can give us feedback on the work we’re doing.

Obviously we can only make changes and progress the animation if we know what you think of the work done so far!

We use a web-based, video review platform to ensure it’s simple for you to make comments and for us to action them.

Ideally, you’ll give us six weeks to make your animation. We won’t be working on your project the entire time, which means we can take a break from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

This always allows us to develop better ideas.

But if you’ve got a hard deadline, we’ve been known to turn around projects in under a week.

That’s because we have a mature, structured creative process, built over a decade of delivering great animations for our clients.

And we make sure between us that we’ve got the key things right:

So, those are the factors which determine how long it takes to make your animation.
If you need to know anything else, get in touch.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Capgemini,
Goal:
Communicate a complex offering in just two minutes, in a way that would resonate with the audience.

We’ve just delivered on a tight deadline video for one of our regular clients,  to explain their proposition to their potential client in a meeting. The call came on the Thursday. Could we deliver for Wednesday? We took a breath. And got to work.

 

Timeline of a Tight Deadline Video

Thursday

We got the call and an email with a PowerPoint that explained the proposition. I read through the materials, and got my head around what they were asking for. Cracked on with a first draft of the script, delivered by close of play.

 

Friday

I had a call with the stakeholders, and went through the script. They helped flesh out the details,  bringing in clarity to the bits I’d kind of made up. They also brought in technical terms that I didn’t know, but would show to their client they knew what they were talking about.

I then briefed Johnny, one of our illustrators, with the brush strokes of the story. We knew it was set on a train, so he started with a carriage and some people sitting on it! He decided to build the train in 3D in the first instance. When we needed other angles, he was able to rotate the 3D model and redraw.

 

 

From this schematic, he could then draw the carriage in his inimitable style.

 

 

 

I then worked on the script and sketched some quick storyboards.

 

Meanwhile, Simran then started working on some of the technical scenes, which would need some thought.

  Click here to contact us  

Johnny also worked on character development, from quick sketches…

 

 

…through to something more detailed. By the end of the day, we were able to show a few design and quick animations to the client to give them a flavour of what we were doing.

 

 

Weekend

Over the weekend, Johnny drew like crazy, creating layered art work so we could start work on Monday morning. I checked in with him regularly, to keep his work on target. It’s always nice to give an illustrator free reign, and see where their imagination gets to, but for this job we didn’t have time for him to stray too far from what I imagined. By Sunday night, we had the key scenes drawn up. Our tight deadline video was on schedule.

 

Monday

All hands on deck. First we went through the storyboards as a team, so we all knew what we’re doing. Simran and Yair started working on the animation. Johnny carried on designing, with new builds. One thing we were clear on; we knew we want to add more details to the scenes but the priority was to get all of them complete in a simple form. Then we can look at how much time we have to finesse.

We got the first assembly complete just after lunch. All scenes were in there, even if they’re just stills. Another script call, and we get the script signed off. They reviewed the first assembly and we started on the changes. We made sure everyone in the NC team notes all the changes, as a change in one scene can have an impact on later ones.

I headed to the voice over record at 5. With the tight turnaround, I’d offered my services as the voice, to save having to cast a voice artist, and I know the script well. So by 5.45 I’d left the booth and I’m cycling back, while the chosen takes were whizzing back to the studio via WeTransfer.

Johnny finished up his designs, having added a cast of thousands to the train scenes. Simran and Yair stayed on late, tweaking the animations. I started adding my voice to the timeline. By 8pm, we’re sending the client a really sturdy version for their comments. Oh, and we prepared the sound files, so Joel can start building the sound effects overnight.

 

Tuesday

We were back in the studio super early. We had more client changes, all fairly straight forward. We were now at the stage where we could sprinkle on a little more magic, adding a few more facial expressions and speed lines outside the train window. We used a great Deadpool camera plug in on the train scenes, which gives the carriage interior shots the feeling that you’re on the train with the characters. We had whole conversations about what kind of people travel on trains and why are they on their journey, which means we add suitcases and dogs in the aisle, newspapers and all sorts.

The client signed off on a version around 2pm, so we know we’ve delivered what they need. We now have the rest of the afternoon and evening to surprise them with a little more sparkle still. We start working on the extras – giving them a bit more movement in the background, adding more each scene.

Late afternoon, Joel delivered the sound files, with voice over, music and sound effects  all mixed nicely together. We bit off more than we could chew on one scene, which ended up taking way longer than we planned.

We delivered the final file around 6.30 pm, which the clients love. Plenty of new details, some they might not even have noticed, but all of which add to the feel of quality of the film.

 

So that’s how we achieved a tight deadline video. I have to say that I was super impressed by what the Napoleon Creative team pulled together, in such a short time. I think setting it on a train was a great idea, as it’s an environment we all know and relate to. This made it easy for us to make it feel very real quickly. It also helps that over the decade of making animation, we’ve got our process down, and can quickly jump on a project. So if you have a tight deadline video, you know who to call!

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Goal:

If you’re giving a presentation to camera, a teleprompter can really help you deliver a great performance. But it’s not as simple as putting the script on the machine and hitting go. I’ve worked with a range of presenters using a teleprompter, from CEOs of worldwide organisations to founders of start ups. In this article I’m going to give you my key teleprompter tips to getting the best performance.

Want to know more about interview filming styles?

 

My Teleprompter Tips

The first place to start is with the script. When people write their first draft, it’s often in a very ‘written’ tone of voice. For example “we will” and “it is”. When we speak we automatically truncate these words, so putting the shortened form in the script will make it easier to read, and sound a lot more natural.

The next thing is to look at where your sentences land. By this, I mean to put the key word at the end of the sentence. So rather than saying:

“Cloud services are what the client will typically choose.”

Move the cloud services to the end, so it makes it easier to emphasis that word:

“Typically a client will choose cloud services”

If your presentation is longer than 90 seconds, I recommend finding points where you can break the presentation, so it can be filmed in chunks. To avoid a jump cut like this, we can either:

  • change the shot size.
  • plan full screen graphics that can cover any breaks
  • change locations

Whichever trick you choose, it’ll mean you don’t have to get a ten minute take that perfect!

Looking good on camera

Teleprompter tips

Before start, we’ll offer you a little make up. We use Clinique’s invisible matte powder. It leaves no colour, but takes out the shine from the lights. Particular handy for those with receding hairlines.

We also use Garnier surf hair, which is a light paste that will flatten stray hairs, which get caught in the light.

Working with the Teleprompter

These next teleprompter tips are about actually reading from the screen. When we start filming, there will be a pause before the script starts rolling. This allows us to settle the framing and focus. At this point, just give a big smile into camera. You’ll feel silly and awkward. But it means we can cut at exactly the right moment for the start of the video.

As the words roll up the screen, keep your eyes on this section of the screen. Hopefully you’ll just be able to see the lens. This’ll keep you looking directly to camera.

teleprompter tips

It’ll take a few run throughs for us to set the teleprompter at the right font size and speed for you. And we’re here to be your audience – we’ll let you know if you’re speaking too fast or slow.

When presenters first use a teleprompter, their voice performance can be good, but because they’re not looking at a human being, they forget to use facial expressions. This means even though they’re getting it right in terms of the way the script sounds, the visual performance can look flat.

So as awkward as it might seem, imagine the camera is a person. Use those nods, smiles and eyebrow raises that you would naturally. Don’t worry about going over the top – if your performance starts to look too much, we’ll suggest you bring it down again.

When you’ve finished a take, it’s natural to look up at the camera team to see how you did. Instead gentle smile and keep looking to camera. We won’t say cut for 10 seconds, again to give us a handle for editing.

So those are my telepompter tips. If you’re looking to give a presentation to camera then give us a call at Napoleon Creative and let us help you make it effortless and slick.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

What’s the difference between ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ Filming Styles

We’re often asked for our advice on interview filming styles, that is whether a client should be facing the camera or facing off camera when giving an interview. For us, it’s very much a question of the context of who they’re talking to, and what their message is.

In this article you will discover about ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ interview filming styles for documentary interviews, direct to camera interviews, and other interview shooting styles.


Off Camera Interview Styles

If you are giving a direct message to a group of people, then looking ‘to camera’ or straight into the lens is ideal. This might be for someone filming a video message because they can’t make an event, a business leader talking to their staff about a particular issue, or appealing directly to potential investors. However, if your message is more factual, for example, as part of a brand story video, then it’s better to film off camera, as though talking to an interviewer off camera, which is a more documentary style. This style feels more natural and spontaneous.

Documentary Video Interview Styles

Interview Filming Styles Explained

To Camera

  • Speaker is looking straight into the camera lens

  • Comes across as direct as though the person is speaking directly to the viewer

  • Some speakers find that talking to the lens can feel awkward

  • You can easily use auto cue for the content

  • You can use kit like EyeDirect to make it easier to get people to talk into the lens

Off Camera

  • Speaker is looking just to the side of the camera

  • It feels like they’re talking to someone stood next to the camera, even if you don’t hear their questions

  • The sense of ‘eavesdropping’ a conversation makes it feel more real and credible

  • Very traditional documentary style

  • You can still mount an autocue off to the side of the camera to help with content

Recently, Cawstons Press commissioned us to create a video for potential investors. These are  traditional done with the speakers talking directly to camera, to really engage the individual watching. We recommended creating a brand story video, which would be form the same footage, but this would be off camera. So we ended up filming from both angles simultaneously.

This meant we could edit the piece once, but export as two different styles of film, one to camera, one off. We also edited the content slightly, removing specific references to investment for the brand story film. This meant that our client got the best ROI on the investment in video production, something we always help our clients achieve.

Watch more of our corporate documentaries

 


Start your project



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
To show our Clients how to prepare for filming at their premises.

We film a lot of interviews and testimonial video content for our clients and they often ask “What do I need to know about filming in my office?” While all locations are different, there are some key things we’ll need to make the shoot go smoothly. So here’s our quick FAQ guide to interview filming logistics.

Napoleon Creative’s Guide to Interview Filming Logistics

What size room do I book for filming?

We suggest a board room that can seat at least 8-10 people. This means we’ll have plenty of space to give space around the contributor, set up lighting. When thinking about interview filming styles, if it’s an off camera interview you’ll need a good 2-3 metres between the interviewer and interviewee. It’s helpful if the table in the room can be moved. Windows to the outside world can be a challenge, depending on the weather. If it’s cloudy, with the sun going in and out, it can make each take look different! So ideally, the lighting can be controlled. It’s great if we can turn off the air conditioning in that room as well.

 

How long does it take to get set up for corporate interview filming?

show thought leadership

It can take us an hour to get into some corporate building, between dropping the kit and parking, then getting through security and up to the room. We also need an hour once we’re in the room, so we can pick up the shots and set up the lights. So we always make our call time two hours before the interview needs to start.

 

How long do you need to film an interview?

For a typical 3 minute film, we usually interview for 20-30 mins. However, we need a little extra time to get the contributor settled, tweak the lights to them, and get them warmed up. We also like film a little B-Roll, which takes another 10-15 minutes. So we tell our clients to tell the contributor it’ll take an hour out of their diary, then when they get out early they feel they’ve got a bonus ten minutes in their day!

 

What is B-Roll?

B-Roll is the additional footage of the contributor and location that we edit with the footage, as you can see in this client testimonial footage. We film for 10-15 minutes with the client, ideally in 5-6 different scenarios, such as looking at their laptop, talking to clients, or smiling to camera. Ideally the contributor is interacting with other people in several shots.

We tend to use only a few seconds of each, but these shots make a huge difference to the finished piece.

When do you film location shots?

We usually find time within the shoot to film location shots. These might be establishing shots of the building, or logos on the reception wall. We also shoot generic office shots, without anyone clearly in shot. Note that with shared buildings, where a company say only hires a floor, rather than the whole building, you may not be able take shots of the shared areas of the building.

 

Who should I tell that we’re filming?

testimonial video

First off, you’ll need to tell security and reception to ensure we can get into the building. For some companies, it’s good to notify press and publicity, as they like to be aware of what’s being recorded. It’s really important to warn the staff that filming is taking place. We suggest an email to the department where filming is taking place, plus putting A4 posters up on the wall. Anyone who doesn’t want to be filmed can tell us, and we’ll avoid getting them on camera.

 

How long should I schedule for the filming?

An ideal schedule would be something like this:

08:00 Arrive on site, get through reception and our kit into the building. Park van if necessary, and get to the room

09:00 Set up the room with lights

10:00 First interview – then allow 40 minutes between each interview, plus a B-Roll

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Continue filming

16:00 Last interview

17:00 Finish filming, get kit out of the room

18:00 Return to base

How long before we can see an edit?

This is one of the first questions we get asked! It largely depends on the type of interview. Cutting down to an initial sequence doesn’t take long, and we can show you that usually the next day. How long it takes to complete the whole film depends on the number of people filmed and how urgently you need it!

So those are the key things to know about interview filming logistics. Hopefully that’s made things a little easier for you!



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Cawston Press,
Services:
Goal:
Communicate the brand story through video and animation.

Our clients are often a little worried when they first see the rushes of our films. They come out really quite… grey. That’s why we’ve created this short grading showreel, to show you what’s possible! What you see below left is the footage as shot, and on the right after it’s been graded.

Grading showreel comparison

This project was for Cawston Press, who have such a distinctive branding. It’s all about bright primary colours against crisp whites. Bringing that same quality out in the footage we shot was key.

Grading is one of the most fun jobs in film making is the grade. Once you’ve got all the shots edited down, it’s time to colour balance them to make them look their best, and also create a consistent look across the film. When filming we shot projects like this in Log, which means as much data from the camera’s sensors are kept in the file. When we take this file into the edit, we can play around with the colours as well like. For this one we went to Coda Post Production, and got their usual warm welcome and highly slick service.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Infosys,
Goal:
Capture a compelling testimonial that will show the benefits of working with our client.

On Tuesday we bombed up to Cardiff film to a client testimonial video for Infosys, a consulting, IT services and digital transformation company. Infosys wanted to show the video at an Expo two days later, so we had a really tight turnaround.

In the video, Peter talks about the amazing transformation Infosys has brought about in the IT department of Welsh Water. Thanks to their Enterprise Services Management Café, the companies could rapidly deploy new IT solutions with little disruption to the business. Hearing Peter speak, you realise just how successful the project has been. He gave us a great deal of time, and tolerated us filming lots of B-roll.

B Roll really brings a Client Testimonial Video to Life

B-roll comes from the Hollywood tradition of having two camera crews, the A team who film the main action, and a B team who cover the ‘pick ups’. This might be establishing shots, a second angle on the scene, or maybe a close up of an object mentioned by the actors. In today’s world, it largely means shots that don’t have dialogue, which can be used to cover cuts in the interview.

Client testimonial video

We filmed Peter having meetings or discussions with his various teams. One tip when filming them is to always talk about work. If you start to talk about football, your holiday or the weather, the reactions you get don’t look right!

We filmed the interview in 4k, even though we were delivered on standard HD. The advantage of this is that you can crop in to the 4k image, and it still look great in HD. When you’re only filming on one camera, it means you can change the shot size in the interview.

 

Find out how a testimonial video can help your company

 

Modern technology also allows great flexibility on the editing front. With the latest Adobe Premiere, you can create ‘proxy files’ from the 4K footage. That means that basically you’re editing a low resolution version of the project. Even my old 11″ Macbook Air could cope with the footage! I set up in my seat on the train back, and started to cut together then b-roll. When back at the office, I could whizz through the interview and had the first cut if the client testimonial video to them by 7pm. Now that’s a fast turnaround!

Client testimonial video

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Explaining how we make whiteboard animation

Making Whiteboard animation

We start the process the same way we do with any other animation. We run a Discovery Workshop to clarify your ideas and messaging. We then write a script and support it with a storyboard, so you can see how the video will progress. We then build an animatic, a simple version with static images appear to a dummy voice over, read by one of our team. We deliver several iterations of this, until you’re happy we’ve got the story right

Watch how we make an animation

whiteboard animation benefitsOnce you’ve signed it off, we go into the studio. As you can see from the clip above, we need a lot of space to get the lighting right! The trick is to balance getting enough light on the board to make it appear bright and clean, without losing the details of the illustrator’s skin tone and texture.

However, do you want to know the most important thing when filming a whiteboard animation? A really heavy table at the right height! This is so the illustrator can draw comfortably, but so that the board stays still while filming.

We set up a laptop on the table with the animatic, so the illustrator can look at what they need to draw. We look at the image being filmed, and then set out markers to show the edge of the screen. This helps them keep their drawings within the frame. You’ll spot there’s also a monitor, so they can see what’s being filmed.

We film everything in 4k, an ultrahigh video resolution, which means we can zoom in and crop the images if we need to. For example, we might zoom in to a small section in close up to watch a detail being drawn, then zoom out to reveal the master image.

Dos and Don’ts of Whiteboard Animations

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to making a great whiteboard animation

  • Always use a real hand drawing, not just a static image of a hand then just move it on screen
  • Rather than creating lots of individual images to make each point, try to make them build into a larger image
  • Don’t make your illustrations too literal. We’ve been known to throw in penguins and parrots to keep even the driest whiteboard animation fun!
  • Be sure to change colour to add interest, but don’t fake it. We’ve seen animations using a fake hand to draw a full colour photo with a single black pen! Keep it real.
  • If you want to include a photo, print it on card, and slide it on to the board.
  • In fact, we encourage clients to add different textures to the video, like the paper cut outs on this whiteboard explainer we made for WarwickNet, which can add movement to the piece
  • Use a freshly cleaned whiteboard, with very few nicks. We find the cream kitchen cleaners are the best for lifting off old ink.
  • Colour grade the video in post-production so the white space is really white, it’s easy for the edges to fade out to grey or yellow
  • Never, ever say ‘oh we can correct it in post’ – it’s much harder to do that than it sounds. We know if the drawing goes astray, it’s best to start again


At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Show our clients how we make their videos!

Making Corporate Animation

Clients often come to us with no idea how a corporate animation is made, what to expect of their animation company. When they see the first version, clients are surprised there’s little movement or design, everything is a bit simplistic. That’s because animation is an iterative process, with the details and complexity building with each version.

We created this short film to help people visualise and understand the process, so take 90 seconds out of your day and learn how we make our animations!

corporate animation

Discovery

We start with a Discovery Workshop, where we listen to your challenge, discuss your audience and identify your key messages. Our clients find this process exciting and very revealing!

Next, we work out how to communicate these in a memorable way and share this with you in a script. You’ll give your feedback on this, and we exchange drafts until we have the production script.

  Click here to contact us 

Then we draw a storyboard to help you visualise how the action will play out, and create a moodboard to show you what it will look like

Once you’re happy, we go into production.

 

nc workshop

What’s with the Octopus?

Production

First you’ll see an animatic, which is a basic version with a dummy voice over. Then we’ll start bringing in the style and making things move. You’ll be commenting on each version to help us refine it, until we’re adding nice flourishes that bring it all to life…

Interrogate

Sound

Once you’ve signed off the animation, we record the final voice over, mix in music and add sound effects. Sound effects are particularly important, they help the action you’re seeing feel more real.

Delivery

We bring this all together into your finished animation. You can see more of our corporate animation in our portfolio. If you’re interested in creating a corporate animation to help grow your business, get in touch.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
We created this video to help our clients understand how long it take to create an animation.

One question clients always ask us at Napoleon Creative is “How long will it take to make the animation?” They’re keen to know how long animation takes to produce so they can plan their marketing campaign.

What factors affect how long animation takes?

Here are five key variables which will affect the answer.

First, how clear your message is when you start working with us.

Some clients have a very clear idea of what they’re communicating, others need more time developing their ideas with us before we can really start writing on the script.

We can accelerate this with our Discovery Deck workshop.

Second, how well we know you as a client.

If you’re a new client, then it’ll take us a little while to get to know your brand – both in terms of your visual style and tone of voice.

The more work together, the quicker we’ll be able to come up with ideas that work for your brand.

Third, the complexity of the animation style. Word or icon based animations tend to be faster than character animation.

That said, if you’re adding more effects and 3D, it can take longer!

It’s all about getting the right look according to the time available and budget you’ve invested.

For example, one client came to us with a two-week deadline, which is tight for bid video production.

We needed a whole host of characters working in an office together, so we went for a modern, streamline style which meant we didn’t have to animate all their facial expressions.

The result was a cool and complex animation delivered in under a fortnight.

Fourth, the size of the team we allocate to your animation.

If you’re in a hurry, we can put more of our team members on the job.

This always makes it a little more complicated to manage, with people working on different parts of the animation at the same time, but we’re used to that.

And fifth, how quickly you can give us feedback on the work we’re doing.

Obviously we can only make changes and progress the animation if we know what you think of the work done so far!

We use a web-based, video review platform to ensure it’s simple for you to make comments and for us to action them.

Ideally, you’ll give us six weeks to make your animation. We won’t be working on your project the entire time, which means we can take a break from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

This always allows us to develop better ideas.

But if you’ve got a hard deadline, we’ve been known to turn around projects in under a week.

That’s because we have a mature, structured creative process, built over a decade of delivering great animations for our clients.

And we make sure between us that we’ve got the key things right:

So, those are the factors which determine how long it takes to make your animation.
If you need to know anything else, get in touch.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Capgemini,
Goal:
Communicate a complex offering in just two minutes, in a way that would resonate with the audience.

We’ve just delivered on a tight deadline video for one of our regular clients,  to explain their proposition to their potential client in a meeting. The call came on the Thursday. Could we deliver for Wednesday? We took a breath. And got to work.

 

Timeline of a Tight Deadline Video

Thursday

We got the call and an email with a PowerPoint that explained the proposition. I read through the materials, and got my head around what they were asking for. Cracked on with a first draft of the script, delivered by close of play.

 

Friday

I had a call with the stakeholders, and went through the script. They helped flesh out the details,  bringing in clarity to the bits I’d kind of made up. They also brought in technical terms that I didn’t know, but would show to their client they knew what they were talking about.

I then briefed Johnny, one of our illustrators, with the brush strokes of the story. We knew it was set on a train, so he started with a carriage and some people sitting on it! He decided to build the train in 3D in the first instance. When we needed other angles, he was able to rotate the 3D model and redraw.

 

 

From this schematic, he could then draw the carriage in his inimitable style.

 

 

 

I then worked on the script and sketched some quick storyboards.

 

Meanwhile, Simran then started working on some of the technical scenes, which would need some thought.

  Click here to contact us  

Johnny also worked on character development, from quick sketches…

 

 

…through to something more detailed. By the end of the day, we were able to show a few design and quick animations to the client to give them a flavour of what we were doing.

 

 

Weekend

Over the weekend, Johnny drew like crazy, creating layered art work so we could start work on Monday morning. I checked in with him regularly, to keep his work on target. It’s always nice to give an illustrator free reign, and see where their imagination gets to, but for this job we didn’t have time for him to stray too far from what I imagined. By Sunday night, we had the key scenes drawn up. Our tight deadline video was on schedule.

 

Monday

All hands on deck. First we went through the storyboards as a team, so we all knew what we’re doing. Simran and Yair started working on the animation. Johnny carried on designing, with new builds. One thing we were clear on; we knew we want to add more details to the scenes but the priority was to get all of them complete in a simple form. Then we can look at how much time we have to finesse.

We got the first assembly complete just after lunch. All scenes were in there, even if they’re just stills. Another script call, and we get the script signed off. They reviewed the first assembly and we started on the changes. We made sure everyone in the NC team notes all the changes, as a change in one scene can have an impact on later ones.

I headed to the voice over record at 5. With the tight turnaround, I’d offered my services as the voice, to save having to cast a voice artist, and I know the script well. So by 5.45 I’d left the booth and I’m cycling back, while the chosen takes were whizzing back to the studio via WeTransfer.

Johnny finished up his designs, having added a cast of thousands to the train scenes. Simran and Yair stayed on late, tweaking the animations. I started adding my voice to the timeline. By 8pm, we’re sending the client a really sturdy version for their comments. Oh, and we prepared the sound files, so Joel can start building the sound effects overnight.

 

Tuesday

We were back in the studio super early. We had more client changes, all fairly straight forward. We were now at the stage where we could sprinkle on a little more magic, adding a few more facial expressions and speed lines outside the train window. We used a great Deadpool camera plug in on the train scenes, which gives the carriage interior shots the feeling that you’re on the train with the characters. We had whole conversations about what kind of people travel on trains and why are they on their journey, which means we add suitcases and dogs in the aisle, newspapers and all sorts.

The client signed off on a version around 2pm, so we know we’ve delivered what they need. We now have the rest of the afternoon and evening to surprise them with a little more sparkle still. We start working on the extras – giving them a bit more movement in the background, adding more each scene.

Late afternoon, Joel delivered the sound files, with voice over, music and sound effects  all mixed nicely together. We bit off more than we could chew on one scene, which ended up taking way longer than we planned.

We delivered the final file around 6.30 pm, which the clients love. Plenty of new details, some they might not even have noticed, but all of which add to the feel of quality of the film.

 

So that’s how we achieved a tight deadline video. I have to say that I was super impressed by what the Napoleon Creative team pulled together, in such a short time. I think setting it on a train was a great idea, as it’s an environment we all know and relate to. This made it easy for us to make it feel very real quickly. It also helps that over the decade of making animation, we’ve got our process down, and can quickly jump on a project. So if you have a tight deadline video, you know who to call!

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Goal:

If you’re giving a presentation to camera, a teleprompter can really help you deliver a great performance. But it’s not as simple as putting the script on the machine and hitting go. I’ve worked with a range of presenters using a teleprompter, from CEOs of worldwide organisations to founders of start ups. In this article I’m going to give you my key teleprompter tips to getting the best performance.

Want to know more about interview filming styles?

 

My Teleprompter Tips

The first place to start is with the script. When people write their first draft, it’s often in a very ‘written’ tone of voice. For example “we will” and “it is”. When we speak we automatically truncate these words, so putting the shortened form in the script will make it easier to read, and sound a lot more natural.

The next thing is to look at where your sentences land. By this, I mean to put the key word at the end of the sentence. So rather than saying:

“Cloud services are what the client will typically choose.”

Move the cloud services to the end, so it makes it easier to emphasis that word:

“Typically a client will choose cloud services”

If your presentation is longer than 90 seconds, I recommend finding points where you can break the presentation, so it can be filmed in chunks. To avoid a jump cut like this, we can either:

  • change the shot size.
  • plan full screen graphics that can cover any breaks
  • change locations

Whichever trick you choose, it’ll mean you don’t have to get a ten minute take that perfect!

Looking good on camera

Teleprompter tips

Before start, we’ll offer you a little make up. We use Clinique’s invisible matte powder. It leaves no colour, but takes out the shine from the lights. Particular handy for those with receding hairlines.

We also use Garnier surf hair, which is a light paste that will flatten stray hairs, which get caught in the light.

Working with the Teleprompter

These next teleprompter tips are about actually reading from the screen. When we start filming, there will be a pause before the script starts rolling. This allows us to settle the framing and focus. At this point, just give a big smile into camera. You’ll feel silly and awkward. But it means we can cut at exactly the right moment for the start of the video.

As the words roll up the screen, keep your eyes on this section of the screen. Hopefully you’ll just be able to see the lens. This’ll keep you looking directly to camera.

teleprompter tips

It’ll take a few run throughs for us to set the teleprompter at the right font size and speed for you. And we’re here to be your audience – we’ll let you know if you’re speaking too fast or slow.

When presenters first use a teleprompter, their voice performance can be good, but because they’re not looking at a human being, they forget to use facial expressions. This means even though they’re getting it right in terms of the way the script sounds, the visual performance can look flat.

So as awkward as it might seem, imagine the camera is a person. Use those nods, smiles and eyebrow raises that you would naturally. Don’t worry about going over the top – if your performance starts to look too much, we’ll suggest you bring it down again.

When you’ve finished a take, it’s natural to look up at the camera team to see how you did. Instead gentle smile and keep looking to camera. We won’t say cut for 10 seconds, again to give us a handle for editing.

So those are my telepompter tips. If you’re looking to give a presentation to camera then give us a call at Napoleon Creative and let us help you make it effortless and slick.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

What’s the difference between ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ Filming Styles

We’re often asked for our advice on interview filming styles, that is whether a client should be facing the camera or facing off camera when giving an interview. For us, it’s very much a question of the context of who they’re talking to, and what their message is.

In this article you will discover about ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ interview filming styles for documentary interviews, direct to camera interviews, and other interview shooting styles.


Off Camera Interview Styles

If you are giving a direct message to a group of people, then looking ‘to camera’ or straight into the lens is ideal. This might be for someone filming a video message because they can’t make an event, a business leader talking to their staff about a particular issue, or appealing directly to potential investors. However, if your message is more factual, for example, as part of a brand story video, then it’s better to film off camera, as though talking to an interviewer off camera, which is a more documentary style. This style feels more natural and spontaneous.

Documentary Video Interview Styles

Interview Filming Styles Explained

To Camera

  • Speaker is looking straight into the camera lens

  • Comes across as direct as though the person is speaking directly to the viewer

  • Some speakers find that talking to the lens can feel awkward

  • You can easily use auto cue for the content

  • You can use kit like EyeDirect to make it easier to get people to talk into the lens

Off Camera

  • Speaker is looking just to the side of the camera

  • It feels like they’re talking to someone stood next to the camera, even if you don’t hear their questions

  • The sense of ‘eavesdropping’ a conversation makes it feel more real and credible

  • Very traditional documentary style

  • You can still mount an autocue off to the side of the camera to help with content

Recently, Cawstons Press commissioned us to create a video for potential investors. These are  traditional done with the speakers talking directly to camera, to really engage the individual watching. We recommended creating a brand story video, which would be form the same footage, but this would be off camera. So we ended up filming from both angles simultaneously.

This meant we could edit the piece once, but export as two different styles of film, one to camera, one off. We also edited the content slightly, removing specific references to investment for the brand story film. This meant that our client got the best ROI on the investment in video production, something we always help our clients achieve.

Watch more of our corporate documentaries

 


Start your project



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
To show our Clients how to prepare for filming at their premises.

We film a lot of interviews and testimonial video content for our clients and they often ask “What do I need to know about filming in my office?” While all locations are different, there are some key things we’ll need to make the shoot go smoothly. So here’s our quick FAQ guide to interview filming logistics.

Napoleon Creative’s Guide to Interview Filming Logistics

What size room do I book for filming?

We suggest a board room that can seat at least 8-10 people. This means we’ll have plenty of space to give space around the contributor, set up lighting. When thinking about interview filming styles, if it’s an off camera interview you’ll need a good 2-3 metres between the interviewer and interviewee. It’s helpful if the table in the room can be moved. Windows to the outside world can be a challenge, depending on the weather. If it’s cloudy, with the sun going in and out, it can make each take look different! So ideally, the lighting can be controlled. It’s great if we can turn off the air conditioning in that room as well.

 

How long does it take to get set up for corporate interview filming?

show thought leadership

It can take us an hour to get into some corporate building, between dropping the kit and parking, then getting through security and up to the room. We also need an hour once we’re in the room, so we can pick up the shots and set up the lights. So we always make our call time two hours before the interview needs to start.

 

How long do you need to film an interview?

For a typical 3 minute film, we usually interview for 20-30 mins. However, we need a little extra time to get the contributor settled, tweak the lights to them, and get them warmed up. We also like film a little B-Roll, which takes another 10-15 minutes. So we tell our clients to tell the contributor it’ll take an hour out of their diary, then when they get out early they feel they’ve got a bonus ten minutes in their day!

 

What is B-Roll?

B-Roll is the additional footage of the contributor and location that we edit with the footage, as you can see in this client testimonial footage. We film for 10-15 minutes with the client, ideally in 5-6 different scenarios, such as looking at their laptop, talking to clients, or smiling to camera. Ideally the contributor is interacting with other people in several shots.

We tend to use only a few seconds of each, but these shots make a huge difference to the finished piece.

When do you film location shots?

We usually find time within the shoot to film location shots. These might be establishing shots of the building, or logos on the reception wall. We also shoot generic office shots, without anyone clearly in shot. Note that with shared buildings, where a company say only hires a floor, rather than the whole building, you may not be able take shots of the shared areas of the building.

 

Who should I tell that we’re filming?

testimonial video

First off, you’ll need to tell security and reception to ensure we can get into the building. For some companies, it’s good to notify press and publicity, as they like to be aware of what’s being recorded. It’s really important to warn the staff that filming is taking place. We suggest an email to the department where filming is taking place, plus putting A4 posters up on the wall. Anyone who doesn’t want to be filmed can tell us, and we’ll avoid getting them on camera.

 

How long should I schedule for the filming?

An ideal schedule would be something like this:

08:00 Arrive on site, get through reception and our kit into the building. Park van if necessary, and get to the room

09:00 Set up the room with lights

10:00 First interview – then allow 40 minutes between each interview, plus a B-Roll

13:00 Lunch Break

14:00 Continue filming

16:00 Last interview

17:00 Finish filming, get kit out of the room

18:00 Return to base

How long before we can see an edit?

This is one of the first questions we get asked! It largely depends on the type of interview. Cutting down to an initial sequence doesn’t take long, and we can show you that usually the next day. How long it takes to complete the whole film depends on the number of people filmed and how urgently you need it!

So those are the key things to know about interview filming logistics. Hopefully that’s made things a little easier for you!



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Cawston Press,
Services:
Goal:
Communicate the brand story through video and animation.

Our clients are often a little worried when they first see the rushes of our films. They come out really quite… grey. That’s why we’ve created this short grading showreel, to show you what’s possible! What you see below left is the footage as shot, and on the right after it’s been graded.

Grading showreel comparison

This project was for Cawston Press, who have such a distinctive branding. It’s all about bright primary colours against crisp whites. Bringing that same quality out in the footage we shot was key.

Grading is one of the most fun jobs in film making is the grade. Once you’ve got all the shots edited down, it’s time to colour balance them to make them look their best, and also create a consistent look across the film. When filming we shot projects like this in Log, which means as much data from the camera’s sensors are kept in the file. When we take this file into the edit, we can play around with the colours as well like. For this one we went to Coda Post Production, and got their usual warm welcome and highly slick service.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Infosys,
Goal:
Capture a compelling testimonial that will show the benefits of working with our client.

On Tuesday we bombed up to Cardiff film to a client testimonial video for Infosys, a consulting, IT services and digital transformation company. Infosys wanted to show the video at an Expo two days later, so we had a really tight turnaround.

In the video, Peter talks about the amazing transformation Infosys has brought about in the IT department of Welsh Water. Thanks to their Enterprise Services Management Café, the companies could rapidly deploy new IT solutions with little disruption to the business. Hearing Peter speak, you realise just how successful the project has been. He gave us a great deal of time, and tolerated us filming lots of B-roll.

B Roll really brings a Client Testimonial Video to Life

B-roll comes from the Hollywood tradition of having two camera crews, the A team who film the main action, and a B team who cover the ‘pick ups’. This might be establishing shots, a second angle on the scene, or maybe a close up of an object mentioned by the actors. In today’s world, it largely means shots that don’t have dialogue, which can be used to cover cuts in the interview.

Client testimonial video

We filmed Peter having meetings or discussions with his various teams. One tip when filming them is to always talk about work. If you start to talk about football, your holiday or the weather, the reactions you get don’t look right!

We filmed the interview in 4k, even though we were delivered on standard HD. The advantage of this is that you can crop in to the 4k image, and it still look great in HD. When you’re only filming on one camera, it means you can change the shot size in the interview.

 

Find out how a testimonial video can help your company

 

Modern technology also allows great flexibility on the editing front. With the latest Adobe Premiere, you can create ‘proxy files’ from the 4K footage. That means that basically you’re editing a low resolution version of the project. Even my old 11″ Macbook Air could cope with the footage! I set up in my seat on the train back, and started to cut together then b-roll. When back at the office, I could whizz through the interview and had the first cut if the client testimonial video to them by 7pm. Now that’s a fast turnaround!

Client testimonial video

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Explaining how we make whiteboard animation

Making Whiteboard animation

We start the process the same way we do with any other animation. We run a Discovery Workshop to clarify your ideas and messaging. We then write a script and support it with a storyboard, so you can see how the video will progress. We then build an animatic, a simple version with static images appear to a dummy voice over, read by one of our team. We deliver several iterations of this, until you’re happy we’ve got the story right

Watch how we make an animation

whiteboard animation benefitsOnce you’ve signed it off, we go into the studio. As you can see from the clip above, we need a lot of space to get the lighting right! The trick is to balance getting enough light on the board to make it appear bright and clean, without losing the details of the illustrator’s skin tone and texture.

However, do you want to know the most important thing when filming a whiteboard animation? A really heavy table at the right height! This is so the illustrator can draw comfortably, but so that the board stays still while filming.

We set up a laptop on the table with the animatic, so the illustrator can look at what they need to draw. We look at the image being filmed, and then set out markers to show the edge of the screen. This helps them keep their drawings within the frame. You’ll spot there’s also a monitor, so they can see what’s being filmed.

We film everything in 4k, an ultrahigh video resolution, which means we can zoom in and crop the images if we need to. For example, we might zoom in to a small section in close up to watch a detail being drawn, then zoom out to reveal the master image.

Dos and Don’ts of Whiteboard Animations

Here are some simple dos and don’ts to making a great whiteboard animation

  • Always use a real hand drawing, not just a static image of a hand then just move it on screen
  • Rather than creating lots of individual images to make each point, try to make them build into a larger image
  • Don’t make your illustrations too literal. We’ve been known to throw in penguins and parrots to keep even the driest whiteboard animation fun!
  • Be sure to change colour to add interest, but don’t fake it. We’ve seen animations using a fake hand to draw a full colour photo with a single black pen! Keep it real.
  • If you want to include a photo, print it on card, and slide it on to the board.
  • In fact, we encourage clients to add different textures to the video, like the paper cut outs on this whiteboard explainer we made for WarwickNet, which can add movement to the piece
  • Use a freshly cleaned whiteboard, with very few nicks. We find the cream kitchen cleaners are the best for lifting off old ink.
  • Colour grade the video in post-production so the white space is really white, it’s easy for the edges to fade out to grey or yellow
  • Never, ever say ‘oh we can correct it in post’ – it’s much harder to do that than it sounds. We know if the drawing goes astray, it’s best to start again


At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
Show our clients how we make their videos!

Making Corporate Animation

Clients often come to us with no idea how a corporate animation is made, what to expect of their animation company. When they see the first version, clients are surprised there’s little movement or design, everything is a bit simplistic. That’s because animation is an iterative process, with the details and complexity building with each version.

We created this short film to help people visualise and understand the process, so take 90 seconds out of your day and learn how we make our animations!

corporate animation

Discovery

We start with a Discovery Workshop, where we listen to your challenge, discuss your audience and identify your key messages. Our clients find this process exciting and very revealing!

Next, we work out how to communicate these in a memorable way and share this with you in a script. You’ll give your feedback on this, and we exchange drafts until we have the production script.

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Then we draw a storyboard to help you visualise how the action will play out, and create a moodboard to show you what it will look like

Once you’re happy, we go into production.

 

nc workshop

What’s with the Octopus?

Production

First you’ll see an animatic, which is a basic version with a dummy voice over. Then we’ll start bringing in the style and making things move. You’ll be commenting on each version to help us refine it, until we’re adding nice flourishes that bring it all to life…

Interrogate

Sound

Once you’ve signed off the animation, we record the final voice over, mix in music and add sound effects. Sound effects are particularly important, they help the action you’re seeing feel more real.

Delivery

We bring this all together into your finished animation. You can see more of our corporate animation in our portfolio. If you’re interested in creating a corporate animation to help grow your business, get in touch.

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
We created this video to help our clients understand how long it take to create an animation.

One question clients always ask us at Napoleon Creative is “How long will it take to make the animation?” They’re keen to know how long animation takes to produce so they can plan their marketing campaign.

What factors affect how long animation takes?

Here are five key variables which will affect the answer.

First, how clear your message is when you start working with us.

Some clients have a very clear idea of what they’re communicating, others need more time developing their ideas with us before we can really start writing on the script.

We can accelerate this with our Discovery Deck workshop.

Second, how well we know you as a client.

If you’re a new client, then it’ll take us a little while to get to know your brand – both in terms of your visual style and tone of voice.

The more work together, the quicker we’ll be able to come up with ideas that work for your brand.

Third, the complexity of the animation style. Word or icon based animations tend to be faster than character animation.

That said, if you’re adding more effects and 3D, it can take longer!

It’s all about getting the right look according to the time available and budget you’ve invested.

For example, one client came to us with a two-week deadline, which is tight for bid video production.

We needed a whole host of characters working in an office together, so we went for a modern, streamline style which meant we didn’t have to animate all their facial expressions.

The result was a cool and complex animation delivered in under a fortnight.

Fourth, the size of the team we allocate to your animation.

If you’re in a hurry, we can put more of our team members on the job.

This always makes it a little more complicated to manage, with people working on different parts of the animation at the same time, but we’re used to that.

And fifth, how quickly you can give us feedback on the work we’re doing.

Obviously we can only make changes and progress the animation if we know what you think of the work done so far!

We use a web-based, video review platform to ensure it’s simple for you to make comments and for us to action them.

Ideally, you’ll give us six weeks to make your animation. We won’t be working on your project the entire time, which means we can take a break from it, and come back to it with fresh eyes.

This always allows us to develop better ideas.

But if you’ve got a hard deadline, we’ve been known to turn around projects in under a week.

That’s because we have a mature, structured creative process, built over a decade of delivering great animations for our clients.

And we make sure between us that we’ve got the key things right:

So, those are the factors which determine how long it takes to make your animation.
If you need to know anything else, get in touch.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Capgemini,
Goal:
Communicate a complex offering in just two minutes, in a way that would resonate with the audience.

We’ve just delivered on a tight deadline video for one of our regular clients,  to explain their proposition to their potential client in a meeting. The call came on the Thursday. Could we deliver for Wednesday? We took a breath. And got to work.

 

Timeline of a Tight Deadline Video

Thursday

We got the call and an email with a PowerPoint that explained the proposition. I read through the materials, and got my head around what they were asking for. Cracked on with a first draft of the script, delivered by close of play.

 

Friday

I had a call with the stakeholders, and went through the script. They helped flesh out the details,  bringing in clarity to the bits I’d kind of made up. They also brought in technical terms that I didn’t know, but would show to their client they knew what they were talking about.

I then briefed Johnny, one of our illustrators, with the brush strokes of the story. We knew it was set on a train, so he started with a carriage and some people sitting on it! He decided to build the train in 3D in the first instance. When we needed other angles, he was able to rotate the 3D model and redraw.

 

 

From this schematic, he could then draw the carriage in his inimitable style.

 

 

 

I then worked on the script and sketched some quick storyboards.

 

Meanwhile, Simran then started working on some of the technical scenes, which would need some thought.

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Johnny also worked on character development, from quick sketches…

 

 

…through to something more detailed. By the end of the day, we were able to show a few design and quick animations to the client to give them a flavour of what we were doing.

 

 

Weekend

Over the weekend, Johnny drew like crazy, creating layered art work so we could start work on Monday morning. I checked in with him regularly, to keep his work on target. It’s always nice to give an illustrator free reign, and see where their imagination gets to, but for this job we didn’t have time for him to stray too far from what I imagined. By Sunday night, we had the key scenes drawn up. Our tight deadline video was on schedule.

 

Monday

All hands on deck. First we went through the storyboards as a team, so we all knew what we’re doing. Simran and Yair started working on the animation. Johnny carried on designing, with new builds. One thing we were clear on; we knew we want to add more details to the scenes but the priority was to get all of them complete in a simple form. Then we can look at how much time we have to finesse.

We got the first assembly complete just after lunch. All scenes were in there, even if they’re just stills. Another script call, and we get the script signed off. They reviewed the first assembly and we started on the changes. We made sure everyone in the NC team notes all the changes, as a change in one scene can have an impact on later ones.

I headed to the voice over record at 5. With the tight turnaround, I’d offered my services as the voice, to save having to cast a voice artist, and I know the script well. So by 5.45 I’d left the booth and I’m cycling back, while the chosen takes were whizzing back to the studio via WeTransfer.

Johnny finished up his designs, having added a cast of thousands to the train scenes. Simran and Yair stayed on late, tweaking the animations. I started adding my voice to the timeline. By 8pm, we’re sending the client a really sturdy version for their comments. Oh, and we prepared the sound files, so Joel can start building the sound effects overnight.

 

Tuesday

We were back in the studio super early. We had more client changes, all fairly straight forward. We were now at the stage where we could sprinkle on a little more magic, adding a few more facial expressions and speed lines outside the train window. We used a great Deadpool camera plug in on the train scenes, which gives the carriage interior shots the feeling that you’re on the train with the characters. We had whole conversations about what kind of people travel on trains and why are they on their journey, which means we add suitcases and dogs in the aisle, newspapers and all sorts.

The client signed off on a version around 2pm, so we know we’ve delivered what they need. We now have the rest of the afternoon and evening to surprise them with a little more sparkle still. We start working on the extras – giving them a bit more movement in the background, adding more each scene.

Late afternoon, Joel delivered the sound files, with voice over, music and sound effects  all mixed nicely together. We bit off more than we could chew on one scene, which ended up taking way longer than we planned.

We delivered the final file around 6.30 pm, which the clients love. Plenty of new details, some they might not even have noticed, but all of which add to the feel of quality of the film.

 

So that’s how we achieved a tight deadline video. I have to say that I was super impressed by what the Napoleon Creative team pulled together, in such a short time. I think setting it on a train was a great idea, as it’s an environment we all know and relate to. This made it easy for us to make it feel very real quickly. It also helps that over the decade of making animation, we’ve got our process down, and can quickly jump on a project. So if you have a tight deadline video, you know who to call!

 



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

Client:
Goal:

If you’re giving a presentation to camera, a teleprompter can really help you deliver a great performance. But it’s not as simple as putting the script on the machine and hitting go. I’ve worked with a range of presenters using a teleprompter, from CEOs of worldwide organisations to founders of start ups. In this article I’m going to give you my key teleprompter tips to getting the best performance.

Want to know more about interview filming styles?

 

My Teleprompter Tips

The first place to start is with the script. When people write their first draft, it’s often in a very ‘written’ tone of voice. For example “we will” and “it is”. When we speak we automatically truncate these words, so putting the shortened form in the script will make it easier to read, and sound a lot more natural.

The next thing is to look at where your sentences land. By this, I mean to put the key word at the end of the sentence. So rather than saying:

“Cloud services are what the client will typically choose.”

Move the cloud services to the end, so it makes it easier to emphasis that word:

“Typically a client will choose cloud services”

If your presentation is longer than 90 seconds, I recommend finding points where you can break the presentation, so it can be filmed in chunks. To avoid a jump cut like this, we can either:

  • change the shot size.
  • plan full screen graphics that can cover any breaks
  • change locations

Whichever trick you choose, it’ll mean you don’t have to get a ten minute take that perfect!

Looking good on camera

Teleprompter tips

Before start, we’ll offer you a little make up. We use Clinique’s invisible matte powder. It leaves no colour, but takes out the shine from the lights. Particular handy for those with receding hairlines.

We also use Garnier surf hair, which is a light paste that will flatten stray hairs, which get caught in the light.

Working with the Teleprompter

These next teleprompter tips are about actually reading from the screen. When we start filming, there will be a pause before the script starts rolling. This allows us to settle the framing and focus. At this point, just give a big smile into camera. You’ll feel silly and awkward. But it means we can cut at exactly the right moment for the start of the video.

As the words roll up the screen, keep your eyes on this section of the screen. Hopefully you’ll just be able to see the lens. This’ll keep you looking directly to camera.

teleprompter tips

It’ll take a few run throughs for us to set the teleprompter at the right font size and speed for you. And we’re here to be your audience – we’ll let you know if you’re speaking too fast or slow.

When presenters first use a teleprompter, their voice performance can be good, but because they’re not looking at a human being, they forget to use facial expressions. This means even though they’re getting it right in terms of the way the script sounds, the visual performance can look flat.

So as awkward as it might seem, imagine the camera is a person. Use those nods, smiles and eyebrow raises that you would naturally. Don’t worry about going over the top – if your performance starts to look too much, we’ll suggest you bring it down again.

When you’ve finished a take, it’s natural to look up at the camera team to see how you did. Instead gentle smile and keep looking to camera. We won’t say cut for 10 seconds, again to give us a handle for editing.

So those are my telepompter tips. If you’re looking to give a presentation to camera then give us a call at Napoleon Creative and let us help you make it effortless and slick.



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.

What’s the difference between ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ Filming Styles

We’re often asked for our advice on interview filming styles, that is whether a client should be facing the camera or facing off camera when giving an interview. For us, it’s very much a question of the context of who they’re talking to, and what their message is.

In this article you will discover about ‘To Camera’ and ‘Off Camera’ interview filming styles for documentary interviews, direct to camera interviews, and other interview shooting styles.


Off Camera Interview Styles

If you are giving a direct message to a group of people, then looking ‘to camera’ or straight into the lens is ideal. This might be for someone filming a video message because they can’t make an event, a business leader talking to their staff about a particular issue, or appealing directly to potential investors. However, if your message is more factual, for example, as part of a brand story video, then it’s better to film off camera, as though talking to an interviewer off camera, which is a more documentary style. This style feels more natural and spontaneous.

Documentary Video Interview Styles

Interview Filming Styles Explained

To Camera

  • Speaker is looking straight into the camera lens

  • Comes across as direct as though the person is speaking directly to the viewer

  • Some speakers find that talking to the lens can feel awkward

  • You can easily use auto cue for the content

  • You can use kit like EyeDirect to make it easier to get people to talk into the lens

Off Camera

  • Speaker is looking just to the side of the camera

  • It feels like they’re talking to someone stood next to the camera, even if you don’t hear their questions

  • The sense of ‘eavesdropping’ a conversation makes it feel more real and credible

  • Very traditional documentary style

  • You can still mount an autocue off to the side of the camera to help with content

Recently, Cawstons Press commissioned us to create a video for potential investors. These are  traditional done with the speakers talking directly to camera, to really engage the individual watching. We recommended creating a brand story video, which would be form the same footage, but this would be off camera. So we ended up filming from both angles simultaneously.

This meant we could edit the piece once, but export as two different styles of film, one to camera, one off. We also edited the content slightly, removing specific references to investment for the brand story film. This meant that our client got the best ROI on the investment in video production, something we always help our clients achieve.

Watch more of our corporate documentaries

 


Start your project



At Napoleon Creative there are no Account Handlers or PA firewalls.

When you contact us you'll get straight through to our Creative Director, Gavin Ricketts.



Client:
Napoleon Creative,
Goal:
To show our Clients how to prepare for filming at their premises.

We film a lot of interviews and testimonial video content for our clients and they often ask “What do I need to know about filming in my office?” While all locations are different, there are some key things we’ll need to make the shoot go smoothly. So here’s our quick FAQ guide to interview filming logistics.

Napoleon Creative’s Guide to Interview Filming Logistics

What size room do I book for filming?

We suggest a board room that can seat at least 8-10 people. This means we’ll have plenty of space to give space around the contributor, set up lighting. When thinking about interview filming styles, if it’s an off camera interview you’ll need a good 2-3 metres between the interviewer and interviewee. It’s helpful if the table in the room can be moved. Windows to the outside world can be a challenge, depending on the weather. If it’s cloudy, with the sun going in and out, it can make each take look different! So ideally, the lighting can be controlled. It’s great if we can turn off the air conditioning in that room as well.

 

How long does it take to get set up for corporate interview filming?

show thought leadership

It can take us an hour to get into some corporate building, between dropping the kit and parking, then getting through security and up to the room. We also need an hour once we’re in the room, so we can pick up the shots and set up the lights. So we always make our call time two hours before the interview needs to start.

 

How long do you need to film an interview?