Behind the Lens

Behind the Lens


Sleight Advertising takes an inside look at what goes into a video project in an interview with the guy behind the lens, Danny Thompson.

Danny Thompson, Production Specialist[blitz_img id=”6156″]

Job Essentials: Canon c300, Adobe Creative Cloud, Batman paraphernalia, coffee


What is the first thing you consider when preparing a new video project?

I guess the first aspect of a potential project, that comes to my mind, is the relatability of the message that’s being conveyed to the consumer. I find that it is important to find that element that will draw in the audience, or else the video is worthless, regardless of how technically precise and executed the final product is.

Obviously, there are several elements that go into a video shoot. What are the basic things to keep in mind when preparing for a video shoot?

I think there are really two things that I keep in mind. The first one is, obviously: budget. But not in the sense of having the budget hold back any ideas that come through the concept stage of script writing. I think about it more so as, “How do I stretch out the budget and get the best bang-for-buck with it?” I always want to make a great video that I’m proud to be a part of, regardless of budget.

Then, the other thing is: time. How much time am I going to have to deliver a finished product? Great videos take some time. There is a lot of care and attention that goes in to every frame, and the end results always reflect that.

In your opinion, what is the most important element in video production?

Hands down, the most important aspect of any production is pre-production. One cannot simply walk on set and roll the camera and expect to get the desired results. It’s during pre-production where, not only are casting, location scouting and crew are hired, but the script is broken down and shot lists are developed. Then we’ll do test shots with people in the office and make sure that the flow and language of video are exactly what we’ve envisioned. If not, this is the time to make the necessary adjustments.

Do you think it’s more difficult to be the brains behind the camera, or the talent in front of the camera?

I always tell everyone that it is far more difficult to perform in front of the camera. I know I couldn’t do it. There is a very trusting relationship between the talent and the director. Acting requires a sense of vulnerability, and they entrust the director with that vulnerability to make sure that their character portrayal is conveyed in the desired manner. I don’t know how they do it.

Give us a brief rundown of how the editing process goes.

The first step is ingesting the footage. From there, we import the footage into Adobe Premiere Pro CC and begin labeling, adding metadata tags and/or syncing multiple cameras. After that point, it really comes down to what type of project it is, in terms of the type of editing workflow we’ll use. But once the core video is prepared, we’ll add the needed graphics, mix the audio with music, and add a color grade to make the image pop.

What do you think is most unique about video production, in terms of advertising potential?

I think video has a wider potential audience, and while a good portion of that media is consumed in television, I feel the tide has shifted dramatically to web. And that opens the door to a lot of exciting possibilities. On television, we’re mostly held back to :60 or :30 second spots and the purchased air time needed to broadcast your media at specific times on specific channels. Whereas on the web, you don’t have to spend money on air time, your media can be consumed by anyone at anytime. Your videos can be those same :60 or :30 second spots, or we can do a testimonial or company. This unique dynamic makes it possible for companies to engage directly with their target markets via social media, and video is a strong tool in that dynamic.