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The Corporate Video – Great Telly Not On TV

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Liam Creagh runs Belfast television and video production company Red Box Media. His company produces television programmes but discovered early on that the corporate market is a very much untapped source of income for the TV indies.

Television production companies make their living from producing programmes which are broadcast... on television. They are set up with talented producers, cameramen, editors, directors, writers, etc. They have invested in expensive cameras, sound recording, lights, edit suites.

They pitch ideas to broadcasters; they come up with the concept and help the commissioning editor visualise what the end result will be. When they get the green light, they make it. They make all the calls to organise those taking part, locations, schedules, permissions.

They shoot and then they edit a first draft to let the commissioner see what they have got. The broadcaster then gets to make amendments – after, of course, much “debate” with the producer and then the production is polished up with nice colour adjustments and sound mix and nice effects and graphics and delivered to a very happy broadcaster who airs it on the telly.

We know all that!

But here's the thing, many television production companies look down their noses at the corporate market, where their work will not get aired on TV and where they feel they are selling themselves out by pandering to a paying master.

We don't!

As a journalist and TV reporter, and for the last twenty years, an independent producer, I did feel the discomfort when I started producing corporates – I was producing a form of benign propaganda for a fee.

Believe me, the fee had little to do with it, but I soon found that businesses and organisations commissioning corporate videos wished to transmit a message to their staff, their clients or prospective clients.

We were never asked to film what was not there or to hide what was. Every job we have done – without exception – was to increase the understanding of the intended audience.

So, we use equipment we have in house, our broadcast cameras, sound, lights, edit suites and we use the people who make programmes. We use the same storytelling devices that we use for broadcast. We let the pictures tell most of the story, keep scripts concise and ensure the "message" the corporate client wants to get across, gets there in as entertaining a way as it does on telly.

The thing is budgets for corporates tend to be a fraction of the fee for producing a TV programme – so do you give less? I say no.

What we save on is TIME.

The quicker we can get this story told, the better value we can offer the corporate client. So although we use the same tools as TV, the expensive camera, lens, edit suite, etc., we are using "down time" and we are scheduling the full production very tightly where everyone knows what they have to do. We shoot fairly strictly to script – we sometimes even help interviewees say what they have to say in soundbites (less to edit later!)

Although we all know there are always some nice surprises on location that a cameraman or producer can't resist and has to get that shot, there is no waste. Little ends up on the cutting room floor. The corporate client is also often less picky when it comes to amendments and is more easily persuaded than an executive producer.

So, the corporate client gets his film. He is happy because it looks professional which makes his organization look professional. He can put it online; he can include it in presentations, show it at conferences, loop it and put it up on a big screen in reception or at an event – and he can offer shots to news organisations who will be happy to use material shot professionally by broadcasters.

We are happy because we can keep the work flowing in – and the bank manager happy!


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