Occasionally, we will get a request to help out a product marketing manager to highlight a new product or feature update for Microsoft 365 and help create a promotional video. Working with production companies is a lot of fun and holds its own unique challenges.
Understanding your customers’ needs
Attention to detail is the name of the game. The initial stages of conversation, discovery and understanding our customers’ unique needs are critical in order to keep up with the fast paced schedule of video production. Key questions to ask: What product or feature do you want to show off for the camera? What’s the key takeaway for the audience when they see the technology on screen?
Prepping hardware and gear for the day of the shoot
Prepping hardware for any kind of demo, be it 1:1, 1: many, or recorded is important for a variety of reasons. Never expect anything to work without first testing a day or two before the event. Always test your demo’s weak points. Ask yourself questions like:
Does this part of the demo require internet access?
What if the internet onsite goes down?
What happens if this doesn’t work as we initially expect?
Do I have a backup plan?
Scouting the location
While every step in the process is important, I cannot stress the importance of scouting the video shoot location with the production crew enough. Internet access and the ability to project a device’s screen are the two major pitfalls to consider in any location. For example, if the customer and production company want to film inside a car, do you have a hotspot? Also consider showing a conference call or projecting a deck in a conference room: do you have the correct kind of video adapters? Is there WiFi in the room? Do you need a guest password to access the internet?
Get ready to stay on your toes
In the world of video production, the producer’s job is to keep everyone on schedule, but unforeseen things sometimes happen, or one scene might take more time than scheduled. As the technical lead onsite, its important that you don’t slow down production. Be ready to be agile. You’re going to be troubleshooting, switching gears and technologies rapidly, so have fun with it! Working in a controlled chaotic environment isn’t for everyone, but it can certainly be rewarding when all of the work is done.