What is my role?

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    • #47197

      I have my first paying project underway and the client and I both admit this will be a journey for us both to learn from. The project: DVD to supplement 8 lessons that will accompany the printed workbook lessons. Each of the 8 lessons need to be a 10 minute lecture from my client. Sounds easy and straight forward, but when I go to capture we end up starting/stopping/re-capturing…In post I am doing WAY to much work piecing everything together. The client has her colleagues critique her work from what I post on Vimeo and they give her great constructive feedback – she is talking too slow, she needs to talk more from a script, smile more, etc.

      My question – what is my role in helping her get there? Am I just there to capture and edit? Should I be coaching her more? Those of you that have tons of experience with making DVDs that are not of your own writing/ideas, what does your role look like while capturing? OR what is your role during pre-production – any examples of the storyboards that you could post?

      I understand storyboards and with a 10 minute lecture, there isn’t much to storyboard…So how do I get my client to understand basics – START with an introductory sentence….



    • #194327

      Simply put, if you’re their only go-to person for video work, then your role is to do everything. So while you shoot, you’ve gotta make sure what you’re shooting is going to cut together well. You’ve gotta make sure they’re not wearing funky clothing. You’ve gotta make sure what they’re saying is coherent. You’ve gotta make sure they’re not boring

      You’re job is everything related to creating that video.

      “In post I am doing WAY to much work piecing everything together.”

      Well, that is the nature of post production. Did you have something else in mind?

    • #194328

      You’re going to get a wide range of opinions, experiences and thoughts – we would hope anyway because that will help you form a basis for your own experimentation, using this assortment of ideas from concept or reality to form your own preferred approach.

      Storyboards for eight 10-minute segments would certainly be helpful, but not mandatory, so long of course as you have a good script, or even a full-blown one that has left side for visual and right side for narrative.

      I’ve worked from index prompt cards, poster board prompt cards, and even hand- or type-written 8 1/2 x 11 sheets taped to a cardboard backing and passed slowly by assistants just over the top of the camera lens housing, or just beneath it.

      I’ve had people who simply sit there and read it, rote and without any quality of delivery. I’ve had people who talk and glance, having a good handle on the content but using the prompts as backup to keep themselves on line, pausing and using intermittent moments for pacing the delivery.

      I’ve had people who KNOW their delivery and can do it extemporaneously without notes. And I’ve two kinds of these: the ones who memorize their narrative, and it comes off “sounding” memorized; those who REALLY GOT IT and employ their personalities, tonal inflection, pauses and delivery to the max. What breath of fresh air that last type can be.

      Most of them are NOT prepared, do NOT know their narrative/script to the extent they should, are NOT familiar with pacing or delivery and even worse are totally bored with the whole process. All need help, coaching, prompting and suggestions from YOU – some MORE than others.

      Initially, years ago, I thought it was the client/talent responsibility to handle narrative delivery, to know their lines and how they wanted to deliver them – that all I was supposed to do was get good visuals and clear, clean, crisp audio. Then I ran into what you have – fixing the starts, takes and re-starts/takes in post, giving up on recording (to get it right) due to time restraints (real or perceived) and the building anxiousness of the narrator, talent or client speaker making each take progressively worse instead of better.

      And, as you’ve discovered, fixing this in post creates some serious problems and takes MUCH MORE time than you were likely to have included when you presented your initial bid that was accepted. Everything from jump cuts to inappropriate too short, extended or step-on lines to contend with; smiles when they should have not, not smiling when they should have, even holding their look for a click or two at the end. Or a false start, or too quick of a start at the opening, making a clean in, clean out impossible to acquire.

      While your “ROLE” certainly is to capture and edit, COACHING is necessarily in the mix of responsibility if you want an easier task of things in post. The calmer you are, more encouraging you can be, smoother and more relaxed your tone when giving direction or coaching (we are, most of the time, the directors as well) the more capable and secure, confident and relaxed your talent will be…

      …hopefully. Sometimes not, but maybe you can shoot for 8 out of 10, knowing that there will always be those that simply cannot come off right no matter what you try or suggest or do.

      HELPING THE CLIENT “GET THERE” is going to become obviously your best solution to a quality production, and easier post operation, and something both of you will be proud of – a rewarding experience all around. Good, positive vibes. A sweatshop, fear, aggravation, desperation, jump cuts, frustration and more will, as you well know, probably be the end of a potentially GREAT experience, future referrals and a lost connection.

      So, yes again, coach more, direct more, speak clearly, gently (stroke egos: “that was not at all bad, name goes here, but lets do it once more and this time hold that smile when you get to the end.” – this way, you’ve not given them the idea that the delivery was crap or worse, but have instead suggested an easy way to get another take without it having to appear that it was delivery or content you were noticing that got all bugged up, and now you have TWO takes to work from, both of them probably not bad).

      A best approach for me is when the message can be delivered in “sound bytes” where groupings of a thought or portion of the delivery can be delivered, followed by natural pauses. Then this can be expanded or reduced in post to keep the pacing and pauses more natural. The narrator isn’t focusing on trying to GET THROUGH whole 10-minute narrative, but on say a paragraph or thought at a time, building the narrative and including edit points you can utilize during post to string it together well.

      You can even use this approach to slightly moving your camera left to right, or getting the talent to shift from left three-quarter profile to right, or face on, and pull back or push in, or zoom in or out, giving you the needed change of POV (point of view) without creating jump cut problems in post. Allow MORE time for all this, don’t cut your session too close, quick or short at this will build anxiety levels in all of you.

      The person doing the on-camera narrative HAS to know his/her message, has to study and prepare for it, HAS to be so familiar with the topic, subject or content that they help themselves in the smile-at-the-right time, or pause here and there departments. But YOU, in order to make YOUR job more satisfying and easier in POST, will ALWAYS have to take on the responsibility of coaching, prompting, directing and adjusting for errors in delivery.

      Hope this mini-seminar helps.


    • #194329

      What Earl says and…

      The thing is Michelle, the speaker just doesn’t know how much work you do till you show/tell them. I do coach and coax and I will stop ‘the talent’ to get them to make whole sentences. I am currently working on two projects with good speakers who know their stuff but were not good at communicating when the lesson start/ends. For one, I just put the raw files on a DVD and asked what part of it was the lesson. The next week he said, OK, I get it and sent me an outline of the next one.

      For my other client who is talking about a very specialized subject, one I know nothing about and I don’t know what is important and what is not, I really need to see some text or recommended reading.

      The thing is, it’s up to you as the producer to make the people look good. Do what you need to do to make them look good and ask their cooperation in doing that.


    • #194330

      When I have done similar things in the past (mostly for corporate video), I make sure to get two versions of the video – one half body (head to waist) and one tight (head only, sometimes cropping forehead, depends on the look I’m going for) plus some b-roll. I then, in post, where there are obvious flubs, just use some b-roll (either what I shot or stock) or if it’s at a good cut point I will switch from wide to tight (or vice versa).

      I also sometimes will position the talent head-on (looking right into the lens) and sometimes at about a 30 degree angle offset – looking at me with the camera to my side pointing at them (interview style). I would think for instructional video you would want a direct, head-on shot but you may want to experiment with the other.

      Reshoots are expensive and the client should be billed but I don’t know what your arrangement with the client is about that. When I’ve had a tough time getting more than a sentence correct I will just have the client go through their script about four times and then cherry pick the best segments and put them together with either short (one second) crossfades or animated wipes in post.

    • #194331
      Luis Maymi Lopez

      One of the things I learn doing weather forecast is that as a producer/director/cameraman/editor/well everything, you need to have a lot of patience. Like Earl said “coach more, direct more, speak clearly, gently” and positive feedback are necessary to boosts their self esteem. For the talent (forecasters) writing everything they were going to say wasn’t exactly the best option because it was a lot of information so they need to either learn it or have an idea of what they were going to say (Usually they learn it after take 6). Some of them wrote in paper or in a chalkboard the temperatures and other easy to read details. Almost all of them needed at least 10 takes in order to get a one minute forecast and I let them do whatever they want and almost never stop their performance. I remember one time in which I stop one of them, he was saying the temperature and forecast of Washington, but was pointing the Pacific Ocean. That really needs to be stop, impossible to fix in post. Luckily the forecast is just one camera angle, but since the weather maps were chromakey live they absolutely needed to make at least one takes right so in post I ended up with a few takes to select from. I also learn that you cannot expect to teach them something immediately which they have never practice before. I took acting classes so I knew a lot of voice manipulation tricks, fake smiling, fake crying, fake laugh and even how to stop from laughing. This techniques take a lot of practice to master and I really try to teach them how to stop laughing, but it didn’t work at all (just for me) Save this techniques for more experience talent and let the others have fun, laugh away their insecurities and with this they will eventually do it right. Is important to have in mind that doing videos should be fun.

    • #194332

      Wow! Thank you thank you thank you. I cannot express enough gratitude for your time in writing these posts – all of them! Just by reading these I have a 180 degree change of attitude and a new energy for the project. I have moved from “well, i guess the client thinks I can magically make her talk look good…” to “ok, before we capture i need specific points outlined for the lesson. if these are your points, this is how we will get them…”

      I think I was afraid to offending her by coming across as knowing more about her topic. However, I have now learned it’s not knowing more about the topic, but rather coaching her to deliver her expertise.

      I am really thankful for all of you taking the time to answer.

      Dr. L

    • #194333

      I have moved from “well, i guess the client thinks I can magically make her talk look good…”

      Don’t worry, editors still have thoughts like that

    • #194334


      In a nutshell, your job is to be an ‘expert’ in bringing all the elements together in a cohesive and understandable manner. Unless you’ve worked in your client’s industry for years, you couldn’t possibly ‘know more than she does about it’. What you are supposed to ‘know better than she does’ is how to take that info and piece it together into a project that gets her point across without boring her audience to tears.

      Getting to that point comes from first getting your client to nail down the ‘core points of interest’ in the material to be presented. That’s tough because most experts feel that ‘all the info is pertinent’ and it ain’t! Next, is to setup a plan of how to present the material in a manner that will please the client and their audience within your ability and their checkbook (you want pie in the sky? the ladder’s going to cost some money….)

      Once you have those things set up then your job is to ‘make it happen on camera’. The tough part on that end is keeping your client on point. That’s where the whole ‘nailing down the core points’ comes in handy. Anytime they start drifting away from them you can bring that up (and do mention it will cost extra in shooting and post-production man-hours.) Keep the client involved in the process much as possible. Now, I don’t condone client’s in the editing bay (but many do.) However, I strongly suggest you give them a small number of screenings to see the progress the production is proceeding in post. Each time, give the client the opportunity to ‘sign off’ on any changes, inclusions or deletions of material (and get it in writing) so that you can move onto the next stage without hassle. By the time you get to the final screening before delivery, everything should be exactly (or there about) as they want it.

      So your job will be to walk them through all of that. Never be afraid to say whether something is working or not (do be diplomatic about it.) If the client doesn’t mind that something is whack, go forward and make sure they pay for that section of production whether they use it or not.

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