Last Autumn we were commissioned by national construction firm Willmott Dixon to produce a short film which had to convey the important role played by apprentices in ensuring the continued success of their business. 
 
The film brought together footage from a number of different events including the 'Class of 2017 Graduation Ceremony' (for the latest group of apprentices who had successfully reached the end of the scheme) which took place at a large hotel in Greenwich, London, as well as numerous interviews with key members of staff which had been filmed at Willmott Dixon's Cobham office in Surrey in the months leading up to the Graduation Ceremony. 
Drone aerial inspection photo of the roof of an industrial unit in Hoddesden, Hertfordshire
Last Autumn we were commissioned by national construction firm Willmott Dixon to produce a short film which had to convey the important role played by apprentices in ensuring the continued success of their business. 
 
The film brought together footage from a number of different events including the 'Class of 2017 Graduation Ceremony' (for the latest group of apprentices who had successfully reached the end of the scheme) which took place at a large hotel in Greenwich, London, as well as numerous interviews with key members of staff which had been filmed at Willmott Dixon's Cobham office in Surrey in the months leading up to the Graduation Ceremony. 
 
Click the play button below to watch the film, and be sure to click the rectangle icon at the bottom right of the player to watch the film full-screen: 
A film like this may seem deceptively simple to produce, but there are many complex stages involved, some of which we've outlined below: 
 
Working closely with the client to decide what sort of questions to ask the interviewees to ensure the film can tell the desired story 
 
In the case of the office interviews, finding a suitable location to do the filming, and setting up external lighting to ensure the interviewees are lit effectively, and to ensure the lighting is consistent between all the interviews (including drawing the curtains in the room to stop changes in sunlight affecting the videos!) 
 
Using professional cameras to capture high-quality footage, even in low-light scenarios such as the Graduation Ceremony 
 
Using multiple cameras to film the interviews to allow the seamless transition between different points of view to increase the variety / interest in the interviews 
 
Using professional wireless lapel microphones to capture beautifully clear sound with the minimum amount of background noise 
 
In the case of the Graduation Ceremony, knowing how to interface with the Audio-Visual company's sound desk in order to record clear audio from the microphone on the lectern at the front of the venue 
The 3-point lighting setup used to film the interviews at Willmott Dixon's Cobham office
The dual camera setup used to film the Class of 2017 Graduation Ceremony
Some behind-the-scenes photos taken during the shooting of the Willmott Dixon Apprenticeships film. Click to enlarge.  
However, perhaps the most complex stage of all when producing a film like this is the post-production. With literally hours of raw footage to sift through, how do you pick out the best bits so you end up with a film which tells a compelling story, keeps the viewer engaged, and is less than 3 minutes long? 
 
The answer? 
 
Lots of patience! 
 
The ability to hold the overall message of the film in your mind whilst watching through all the footage so you can identify key phrases as people speak 
 
Years of experience 
 
The graphic below shows the timeline in our post-production software for this Apprenticeships film, showing how all the clips, captions and backing music overlap to create the finished film.  
The editing timeline for the Willmott Dixon Apprenticeships video
The complex editing timeline for the Willmott Dixon Apprenticeships film. Click to enlarge.  
The final, and most often-overlooked part of post-production is the colour grading. This is the process of bringing back the colour and contrast in the footage, which, in order to record the greatest level of detail in the camera, is always captured using a very flat / dull colour profile. The process of grading gives a level of consistency to the colour, brightness and feel of the video — something which, if done correctly, shouldn't actually be noticeable to the viewer at all. The only time you'll notice colour grading is when it's done badly — when the colour cast of the footage varies between shots, or where clips are too dark or too bright. 
 
Again, like down-selecting the footage for inclusion in the final film, there is no shortcut to professionally grading a film like this — it will often involve many steps, each of which take time and experience to master. 
 
We've worked with Willmott Dixon for a number of years to produce both internal and external promotional videos of their construction sites, as well as corporate short films such as this, and they recently sent us this kind testimonial about their experience of working with us: 
"David is always a pleasure to work with. He understands our brand and therefore carefully captures our messages through quality film and imagery. We are very pleased with our Apprenticeship film — just one of a number of films David has produced for us recently including ground-level and aerial fly-through videos of some of our completed sites. Thank you David for providing a seamless and quick turnaround." 
Are you looking to create more engaging videos to clearly transmit your company's values to your staff and customers? Have you tried to produce promotional videos in-house but were never completely satisfied with the results? Give us a call today for an informal chat about how we can work together and start creating professional and compelling videos for your company. 
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