As with so many other industries across the country, film/tv/commercial production has come to a standstill as we deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. But that doesn’t mean that the industry is shutting down. All over the country, intrepid production companies and agencies are reworking their business models to adapt to this new landscape. Here are a few ways that you can utilize video to help communicate in these uncertain times, as well as some tips for those of you in the industry who might have some downtime on your hands.
Wow them in the teleconference
Ironically, as large-scale productions all over the country have had to cancel or postpone principal photography, the use of streaming video has exploded as offices across the country shift their in-person meetings to video chat rooms. Major outlets have followed suit, with The Tonight Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Today Show, and The Howard Stern Show having all soldiered on by holding live broadcasts to their audiences over Zoom and Google Hangouts. Not only does this keep some of our most vital entertainers and news personalities on the air, but there’s the unexpected benefit of humanizing these talking heads by bringing viewers into their homes.
Streaming video can be an immensely powerful tool in bringing your brand’s messaging to the larger market, so make sure that you’re producing content at the highest level possible. Though our own webcams do have built-in limitations for picture quality, small investments such as a webcam light or external microphone can go a long way in helping you stand out in a sea of lagging Zoom meetings and Webinars.
And as my cinematography professor always drove home, there’s no excuse for poor mise-en-scene! Liven up the background of your at-home workspace with books, posters, and art that bring your brand’s personality to the forefront. Personally, I think if your streaming setup doesn’t include at least four stuffed hippos and a basset hound coffee mug, you shouldn’t even be in the game right now.
Bring your static designs to life through animation
Just because we can’t shoot doesn’t mean the world’s appetite for video content is sated, and animation is going to be a real stop-gap until we can get back out with our cameras. Liven up that infographic with some simple animated flair. Do you need to let your customers know which of your locations are still open? Make sure to animate your locations with a few quick pin drops in a GIF. If you have a few minutes of downtime, put an animation treatment on your client’s logo for a quick hit they can post to their social channels. Animation and motion graphic work have been exploding across brands’ social channels of late, so make sure that you’re not letting your work-from-home time keep you from spicing up otherwise static graphics.
Take some time on the internal work
Every production company I know will spend weeks planning out their strategy and business plan, only to see it all tossed by the wayside when the next big project comes through. Take this production lull as an opportunity to revamp your company’s reel of work, update the case studies on your website, or clean up your company’s Vimeo and YouTube pages. When the faucet of production work does turn back on, there’s no doubt going to be a huge demand for fresh video content, so make sure you’ve put your best face on for when the world comes looking for you.